Search Term: " weapon "
Is celery the powerful anti-cancer weapon we have all been waitingfor?
April 27, 2019 09:53 AM
Celery is known for being a low calorie vegetable that is also a good source of vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. However, the biggest (and perhaps most overlooked) health benefit of celery lies in its cancer-fighting properties. Two important antioxidants found in celery - apigenin and luteolin - are the key. Among other benefits, Apigenin has been shown to inhibit the growth of tumors, while Luteolin interferes with cancer cells' replication cycles. Whether you eat it raw or incorporate it into smoothies, soups or stews, celery doesn't just taste good, it can extend your life.
"Research has shown that celery contains two important antioxidants, called apigenin and luteolin, which have exhibited some potent chemopreventive effects."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-03-06-is-celery-the-powerful-anti-cancer-weapon-we-have-all-been-waiting-for.html
8 Herbs That Help You Lose Weight Naturally
August 24, 2017 12:14 PM
When paired with a health-minded diet and routine exercise, herbs can be used as a secret weapon in the battle to shed pounds and maintain physique. The herbs guggul, garlic, coriander, and ginseng all play various roles in increasing metabolism and burning off calories and fat. Peppermint and gurmar are both appetite suppressants and help to reduce cravings for sugary, processed foods. Oregano and dandelion both target bloating and water weight while flushing toxins out from the body.
"It goes without saying that you can't do without a good workout regime and a healthy and balanced diet but these herbs can give you an extra boost."
Read more: http://food.ndtv.com/food-drinks/8-herbs-that-help-you-lose-weight-naturally-1740034
Is marijuana a secret weapon against the opioid epidemic?
July 13, 2017 09:14 AM
Addiction to opioids is a huge problem,. It often starts with pain meds. Doctors prescribe opioids for pain and then the patient becomes addicted and needs more and more. This can ruin families and lives. Some believe marijuana can help because that can be used for pain instead. It does help some with pain already. Medicinal marijuana is already allowed in some places and people are swearing by it for pain and other issues. Others say marijuana can be addictive as well, though, so that would create its own problems.
"The reality is that the literature right now suggests that if anyone is using an opioid — whether it be a prescription painkiller or something like heroin — a prescription painkiller is more likely [than marijuana] to lead to drug abuse, she says, because it’s more addictive and obviously can be more lethal."
Read more: http://wunc.org/post/marijuana-secret-weapon-against-opioid-epidemic
Broccoli sprouts discovered to be a "secret weapon" against diabetes
July 01, 2017 09:14 AM
A new study has shown that broccoli may be able to slow and even reverse type-2 diabetes, which accounts for 90 to 95 percent of those diagnosed with diabetes. The pharmaceutical approach, a drug called metformin cannot be used on some people because of the risks of kidney damage. The side effects of this drug are not pleasant, and include abdominal discomfort, muscle pain, and cramping. Researchers have determined that sulforaphane, which occurs naturally in broccoli is able to lower over-expressed high glucose genes that cause diabetes. With this discovery, researchers are hoping to stop the problem early and treat prediabetic patients using broccoli, thus avoiding type-2 diabetes altogether.
"It’s impressive how the cures for debilitating health problems — say, a vegetable inside your fridge — can be easy to find."
Read more: http://www.naturalnews.com/2017-06-26-broccoli-sprouts-discovered-to-be-a-secret-weapon-against-diabetes.html
This Natural Recipe Will Help You To Cleanse Your Lungs, Prevent Colds And Flu!!
May 29, 2017 12:14 PM
Cold and flu season is the time of the year where everyone is stocking up on vitamin C and zinc in the hopes of dodging this bullet. Unfortunately, the changing of the seasons makes it difficult to avoid the occasional bout of sickness. If you want another weapon in your cold-fighting arsenal then watch this video to get information on a drink that helps cleanse the lungs and prevent colds. This natural drink is inexpensive and has been long been used to cleanse and protect the lungs.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGLdRfqcY3E&rel=0
"Drinking a citrus juice in the morning is an excellent way to help remove toxins, mucus and fat accumulated in the body."
Vitamin C effective in targeting cancer stem cells
March 12, 2017 03:59 PM
Cancer research has taken a front seat to many research projects over the years. Scientists have studied many different chemicals and how they can affect cancer cells. Vitamin C, which is an essential nutrient the body needs normally, has been found to be effective against some cancer cells in studies. Vitamin C has been shown before to be effective against cancer, but more research still needs to be done to show the best way to use this nutrient in therapy. Researchers want to use it to make chemotherapy and other drug options more effective.
""Vitamin C is cheap, natural, non-toxic and readily available so to have it as a potential weapon in the fight against cancer would be a significant step.""
Stop overlooking this powerful medicinal melon in your grocery store
March 04, 2017 05:59 AM
You may never have heard of Momordica charantia, also known as bitter melon, bitter gourd, bitter squash or balmspear, but it has been a medicinal staple in India and China for hundreds of years, and its health benefits are far sweeter than its name may suggest. The bitter melon is a tropical fruit that can be eaten whole or can be purchased as a supplement derived from the fruit and seeds.
"The bitter melon is a tropical fruit that can be eaten whole or can be purchased as a supplement derived from the fruit and seeds."
Why Americans remain vulnerable to infectious diseases
December 08, 2016 02:59 PM
There is uncertainty in the impact of vector-borne diseases in the US. The effect of changing climate may alter which geographic areas are at risk from vector-transmitted infections. Drug resistance is a growing problem and requires urgent action to tackle it. Antibiotics are a key weapon in the battle against bacterial infections, but we must use those tools carefully to make sure they stay effective.
"By analyzing trends in US mortality between 1980 and 2014, scientists found that infections were responsible for 5.4% of all deaths, with the majority caused by influenza and pneumonia."
Why the Blood-Brain Barrier Is So Critical (and How to Maintain It)
November 25, 2016 10:59 AM
It’s imperative to maintain a health blood-brain barrier. This serves as a guard for our brains letting in important things like glucose, amino acids, nutrients, and ketones while warding off toxins and pathogens. Ways to promote BBB health include taking vitamin B, drinking tea/coffee for caffeine, eating prebiotic fiber, upping magnesium intake, and sleep, just to name a few.
"The job of the gut lining is to be selectively permeable, allowing helpful things passage into the body and preventing harmful things from getting in."
What Are The Health Benefits Of A Mushroom Formula?
December 29, 2012 11:39 AM
Three Important Mushrooms And Their Benefits:
You've probably heard of the health benefits of a mushroom formula, but do not know much in details. Well, Medicinal mushrooms are known to possess healing and life-giving properties. However, there are different types of mushrooms and each of them has its benefits. Let us look at three important mushrooms and how they can benefit you.
Turkey Tail Mushroom
The turkey tail mushroom has shown great promise as a powerful immune system booster. If this is your first time of hearing about this mushroom, you will want to pay keen attention to its benefits. The Turkey Tail Mush room has the power to fight off foreign invaders due to its anti-vital and microbial properties. The world we live in is full of toxins, bacteria and viruses, but when our body's immune system is working effectively, it can protect you from dangerous invasions. Furthermore, the turkey tail mushroom is can help your body to fight off the growth of cancerous tumor cells. It is therefore, a weapon against sickness and cancer.
This is an edible species that is commonly found in form of extract today. It contains beta-glucane, which helps to strengthen the immune system as well. When you take this extract regularly, it will boost your immune system and prevent the entrance of foreign bodies that causes infection. Also, Maitake mushroom helps to regulate blood sugar levels in the body. Therefore, it is good for people with diabetes and also helps to prevent similar illnesses.
Today, the Reishi mushroom is now available as a dietary supplement. It can be added to coffee and tea. Like other mushrooms, it helps to boost the immune system and promote good health. The Reishi mushroom also act as an antioxidant by eliminating hydroxyl free radicals and improving your ability to use oxygen. More so, it is effective at lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
What Is Candida And How Do You Fight It?
December 27, 2012 03:29 PM
Candida - or even more correctly known as Candida albicans - is now generally acknowledged as the specific kind of microscopic yeast which causes yeast infection or even thrush in humans -- known as Candidiasis.
Candida is a single cell living organism that grows into hives of many cells and can be observed physically at this stage when it infects body areas as white patches or clusters. This is how you might see it in the vagina, the throat or in the intestinal tract when a micro-camera is sent inside to investigate! Normally Candida's growth is stalled by other small micro-organisms known as good bacteria.
The Good Bacteria
The good bacteria do not have a tendency to cause any adverse symptoms in the body, and their actions really provide the body with many benefits. Acidophilus and bifidus are considered good bacteria. Normally, lower levels of Candida are good for the body and is not particularly a difficulty; in some respects it even provides some specific benefits to the body. Candida acts as a type of natural waste digester and ferments waste sugar in the body. But the problem actually starts when its growth goes beyond control.
What causes candida? - Answer: Anti-biotics
Antibiotics are one of the commonest causes that lead to candida condition. Antibiotics, while they might help cure infection in the body, disturb the balance of bacteria in the body by killing both good and the bad bacteria.
Weakened Immunological systems
Candida is generally kept under control naturally by your immunological system and good bacteria. Nonetheless when you are sick, it can grow out of control and induce infection and other problems.
Candida feeds on sugar. If you have got a diet loaded within junk food and sugary treats you are providing it with a feeding ground. An unhealthy diet also weakens your immune system.
Combating The issue
A good diet is the easiest way to prevent this problem. Steer clear of foods high in sugar as well as foods that have starchy carbs. After you shower, sweat or swim, ensure that you dry out any susceptible areas. Regular diaper changes also help stop Candida infections in babies. If you think that you may be suffering with candidiasis, visit your doctor first for the kind of diagnosis that is required. They'll likely prescribe a good anti-fungal medication. This treatment typically works well for an occasional yeast-related infection.
However, if you suffer from protracted infections then consider treating the core issue instead of the signs and symptoms of the disease. Frequent Candida infections are likely to occur due to an imbalance associated with bacteria, too much sugar in your body or a weakened immunity system. If you can prevent Candida overgrowth in your body you'll be able to avoid the infections associated with it. Some of the finest natural remedies for candida Shark liver It's a well known fact that shark liver oil can do wonders for the body with regards to improving the condition of the defense mechanisms.
This is important for sufferers of Candida since the best weapon everybody has against Candida running crazy in our bodies is our own immune system. Grape seed extract Another popular natural cure for Candida is grape fruit seed extract. Grapefruit extract can work as an anti-fungal solution that can help raise the body's pH to a degree where it is too acidic for the Candida to reside. Helping to restore the body's pH level back to healthy levels is a useful way of treating Candida.
Garlic pills Garlic pills are another common, all-natural way to deal with Candida. It's assumed that garlic can restrain the growth associated with Candida in the body since it does have some anti-microbial properties. Tea tree oils Studies have showed that tea tree oil is capable of destabilizing the cell walls of the yeast, making them easier for the body's immune response to kill them off. Because Candida is a comparatively new condition and is still so arguable, there's actually is no medical opinion accept antibiotics which cause the condition our best option is to treat it herbally. The best choice for any person looking to treat their Candida is to consult with a doctor, or at the least a qualified dietitian about the treatment they should follow.
You can also try the following natural remedies:
Fiber Cereals Help Prevent Colon cancer?
December 15, 2011 09:32 PM
Commercials about high fiber foods has been shown more often in television recently this is because of the many products being formulated such as high fiber cereals that can greatly help you achieve better health. High fiber cereals are not only tasty but most of all is jam-packed with essential fibers that can significantly propel your health to a more desirable state.
Most of the claims that you can hear and read with regards to high fiber cereals are true. The health benefits that are stated are no longer new because even long ago, experts were already able to discover the health benefits that fiber could contribute to the human body. Fiber when taken will just go through our system undigested hence will make you feel full for a longer period of time. Aside from that, another benefit of high fiber cereal is its capacity to regulate blood sugar level within normal boundaries because fiber carbohydrates are not the same with sugar carbohydrates since they will leave your blood sugar level stable. Since fiber could curb appetite, high fiber diet is highly recommended for individuals who want to lose weight in a healthy way.
High fiber cereals also minimize snacking in between meals. Aside from that, it also supplies you with enough energy to enable you to perform the tasks that you need to do. What makes high fiber cereals a great option is the fact that it can be conveniently prepared any time of the day may it be for a late time snack or just to curb your afternoon cravings.
However, among all the benefits of high fiber cereals, its capability of keeping your colon healthy is considered as the most essential. High fiber cereals can help you achieve better colon health. Since your colon is the dump site of the body’s waste products, it is very necessary to take some measures to cleanse it from time to time in order to stop the accumulation of highly toxic waste products of the body. High fiber cereals will serve as your weapon in combating toxic waste in your intestinal tract because fiber could wrap around the debris and will help evacuate wastes out to your system. Talking about colon health and all the wastes it entails may not be appealing to some but I’m pretty sure that it is worth considering.
At present, there are already various brands of high fiber cereals that you can choose from hence, it will no longer be a huge problem to choose which brand or product would be most suitable to your taste. The various high fiber cereals being sold these days comes in wide variety of flavor and texture and everything are worth to be tried because of the benefits it could provide your body. Be mindful of your health while you are still young because we can never predict the future. Engaging in healthy diet and lifestyle would really be of big help.
Some might want to avoid the calories that you can get by consuming cereal daily. This is where a fiber supplement is the key. Fiber supplements are calorie free. Make sure you get plenty of fiber daily to prevent colon cancer!
Astaxanthin, a Member of the Carotenoid Family, is a Powerful Antioxidant
January 31, 2008 09:00 AM
Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family responsible for the red color of many types of algae. Being a carotenoid, it is a powerful antioxidant and free radical scavenger as well as support proper eye function.
However, such a bland statement belies the true worth of astaxanthin in its fight against free radicals. It is of particular benefit in its ability to absorb the high energy of singlet oxygen, releasing it as heat, and returning the singlet oxygen to its ground neutralized state. Singlet oxygen is a particularly harmful and reactive oxygen species of free radical that is formed in the body as part of our normal metabolism, and that contains a high level of free energy that can be used to oxidize and destroy the cells of your body.
In achieving this, astaxanthin is regarded as one of the most potent plant derived antioxidants known, being up to ten times more active than beta carotene, Lutein or its cousin canthaxanthin. So why are antioxidants so valuable to our biochemistry and what would happen if they did not exist?
Free radicals are thieves that use your body as their operating ground. They operate by stealing an electron from a molecule that comprises part of you, and in some cases when this occurs the cell from which the electron is removed is destroyed. Generally electrons go around in pairs, but occasionally an electron pair can lose one of the electrons during a chemical reaction. Many such reactions occur naturally inside the body, especially during the production of energy from blood sugars in the mitochondria, and such a molecule containing a single unpaired electron is called a free radical. Free radicals are also generated by the reactive components of many pollutants such as traffic fumes and cigarette smoke, tars and pesticides, and also by the effect of UV radiation in sunlight.
The only purpose of a free radical is to steal an electron from the first source it can find. Such reactions occur very rapidly after the free radical has been generated, and if this electron belongs to another body cell, then the cell is destroyed leading to effects such as premature aging or even cancers. Free radical oxidation of the LDL lipids that carry cholesterol around the blood causes the deposition of fatty plaques inside arterial walls that eventually become constricted or even blocked, leading to heart disease or strokes.
That is why antioxidants that destroy these free radicals are so prized, and the more of them that there are in your body then the less affect the free radicals will have on you. You will retain your youthful looks longer, and will be less liable to suffer from heart disease, cancers, circulation problems and conditions such as diabetes. Many abnormal conditions can be laid at the door of free radicals.
The stronger the free radical, the more harm it can do to you and a strong antioxidant such as astaxanthin is a very powerful weapon in your armory against them. Astaxanthin is a member of the oxygenated xanthophylls, and its high level of antioxidant power likely comes from the ketonic and hydroxyl functional groups of the ionone ring structure. It is more polar than most carotenoids, and this is a likely reason for its ability to span the cell membrane layers, with the active groups close to the hydrophilic-hydrophobic interface. They are thus more readily available at the sites where most free radicals tend to be found and provide immediate protection to the cell membrane and also to the intracellular mitochondrial membrane.
Many antioxidants destroy free radicals by donating an electron, and become oxidized themselves. Astaxanthin, however, does not do this, but instead adds the free radicals to its long double bonded chain hence avoiding oxidation and rendering it much more powerful than normal antioxidants. It is unusual among antioxidants in that it is also able to cross the blood-brain barrier, and so reduces oxidative stress that can cause neurological disorders in general, and also problems with eyesight. It can also attach itself to lipoproteins to enable it to be carried throughout the bloodstream, being available anywhere that free radicals are generated. The carotenoid is also active against active oxygen species that are responsible for inflammation.
Another property is its ability to neutralize the oxygenated free radicals formed by the photo-oxidation properties of UVA and UVB radiation. Included in these are the previously mentioned highly reactive singlet oxygen and also triplet oxygen that astaxanthin is able to neutralize without becoming oxidized. In fact reactive oxygen species in general can cause oxidative stress, and they have been thought responsible for many forms of disease and health conditions, and the powerful effect of astaxanthin in targeting many of these has led it to be regarded as highly beneficial to the immune system and to health in general.
Another benefit is the ability of the substance to help prevent the oxidation of high density lipoproteins (HDL) that are responsible for carrying cholesterol in the blood back to the liver for destruction. Free radical oxidation of HDL impairs its ability to transport cholesterol, and so decreasing the level of such free radical oxidation will by definition increase the quantity of good HDL available, and hence reduce the concentration of cholesterol in the blood. Studies have proved this to be the case, and astaxanthin supplements are very beneficial to those suffering from high blood cholesterol levels, and helps protect them from heart disease and strokes.
The substance is naturally available from a wide range of marine sources, such as lobsters (where it was first discovered), shrimp, salmon, trout and in a wide variety of red and green algae. The substance is also used as a red pigment. Carotenoids are essential, meaning that they are not produced in the human body and can only be obtained in our diets.
For that reason, the most convenient way to take it, apart from continually eating shrimp and lobster, is as a supplement. Astaxanthin is available either as a powerful antioxidant in its own right, or in combination with other substances with which it acts to provide a very strong deterrent to any free radicals that think they can freely roam your body.
Support Healthy Joint Function With Discount Vitamins
November 22, 2007 11:05 AM
The joints are very important to your mobility and it is essential that you support health joint function with discount vitamins. The reason for discounted vitamins is that there is no need for you to pay more than you have to, and good healthy bones and joints need a good supply of several vitamins, minerals and other substances to remain healthy throughout your lifetime.
Vitamins C and D, and calcium and magnesium are the more common supplements that help to promote joint health, but glucosamine, chondroitin and gelatine also play a large part. Although the strength of the bone is important, it is disorders of the connective tissue that are mostly responsible for joint problems. Connective tissue holds the joint together and prevents excessive friction between bones.
Arthritis in both its forms – osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis – is characterized by a reduction in the cartilage tissue that provides a lining between the bones that make up the joint. As the cartilage becomes worn or its structure destroyed, the bones are exposed to each other and this causes the frictional damage that is osteoarthritis. With rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, the connective tissue and cartilage are attacked by the body’s immune system, causing inflammation. The reason for this is still unknown, but the inflammation leads to swelling of the joint and severe pain.
Both of these conditions can be helped by the use of glucosamine, a natural substance produced by the body to form cartilage and stimulate the formation of connective tissue. Normally taken in the form of the sulfate, glucosamine reduces arthritic pain, and over time can start to rebuild the lost cartilage. It is best taken in conjunction with chondroitin sulfate which is a substance also contained in cartilage and connective tissue.
A discount vitamin supplement containing glucosamine and chondroitin can help to avoid these conditions from occurring. Rheumatoid arthritis also responds well to anti-inflammatories and antioxidants. Much of the damage to the joint tissues can be caused by the action of free radicals that are aggressively destructive molecules created by the effects of pollution such as smoking, pesticides, heavy metals, alcohol and they are also produced by many of the processes occurring inside our bodies. The immune system itself creates free radicals to use as a weapon against invaders.
A free radical is a molecule that has lost an electron, especially an oxygenated molecule. The objective of such a molecule is to get back its electron, and it will do that by oxidizing any molecules it comes across: oxidation is the removal of an electron from a substance. Oxidation can destroy cell molecules which is why the aging process occurs through the destruction of body cells through the effect of oxidation by free radicals. They can also destroy the synovial fluid that lubricates the joints.
The molecules that can prevent this are caused antioxidants, and include some of the well known vitamins such as A, C and E, and also other substances such as Coenzyme Q10, fatty acids such as those in Omega 3 fish oils, beta carotene and the minerals zinc and copper are also effective at reducing the inflammation cause by free radical oxidation. These vitamins and minerals will not reduce the pain in your joints, but will relieve other symptoms such as the inflammation, and help the joint to recover.
Vitamin D is another that can help to cause arthritis and joint problems if you are deficient in it. Vitamin D deficiency is not uncommon, especially in those who live in northern climates where they do not get much sunlight. This vitamin helps to build cartilage and to maintain healthy bone density. Vitamin D is found in oily fish and eggs, but the majority of people suffer a deficiency, if only slight in many cases. Discount vitamin supplements containing all of these vitamins and minerals will help to maintain healthy joints. Vitamin A is available naturally from eggs yolks, oily fish and dairy products, and most people know that vitamin C is obtained from fresh fruit and vegetables, especially the highly colored foods that are also rich in other antioxidants such as anthocyanins and carotenoids.
Rich sources of vitamin E include nuts, seeds, vegetable oils and wheat germ. Taking Omega 3 oil supplements will not prevent arthritis, but will help to relieve the inflammation and hence the pain. However, in spite of all of this, the only vitamin that has been extensively tested on patients suffering from osteoarthritis has been vitamin E. It has been established that significant improvements in the condition of patients were achieved by administering from 400-600 International Units (I.U.) of vitamin E daily for two weeks.
Another substance that is a component of connective tissue and that can be taken to help rebuild what is lost in joint disease is hyaluronic acid. This chemical is found all over the body, and involved in the structure of many types of connective tissue, including the joints, the vitreous humor of the eyes and heart valves. In the joints it is rich in the synovial fluid that lubricates the joints, and also found in cartilage.
Although hyaluronic acid is contained in chicken soup, it is obtained mainly from rooster combs, then treated to reduce its molecular size so that it can be absorbed. Anybody allergic to chicken should seek their doctor’s advice on taking hyaluronic acid as a supplement.
It is highly recommended that a vitamin supplement be taken by anybody suffering from any form of arthritis or joint disease, but it is glucosamine that appears the best treatment for long term success. Glucosamine is a very large molecule, and it is difficult to get it to the site of the problem. To get to the joint, the molecule has to pass through the capillaries, and very few glucosamine molecules can actually achieve that.
That is why the doses are so large, so that even if only a small percentage gets to the joint then that is enough to help rebuild cartilage. The antioxidants help to destroy the root cause of many forms of joint disease: the free radicals and anti-inflammatories can help relieve pain. However glucosamine and chondroitin not only relieve the pain, but also continue to work over time to repair the joint tissues. As with most supplements the body can only absorb so much glucosamine, only consume 500mg at a time but take it two to three times each day for best results.
Glucosamine is often provided in conjunction with MSM (Methylsulfonylmethane) that is a natural form of dietary sulfur. Sulfur is believed to be essential for healthy soft connective tissues, tendons and so on. Calcium, too, is a useful supplement to take since it help to recover the bone density, but keep in mind that vitamin D is essential for the uptake of calcium, so a vitamin D supplement will be required along with the calcium. Although calcium will not in itself help joint disease, it will help to main a good bone density that is more capable of withstanding the stresses of a reducing cartilage density.
There is therefore quite a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and other substances that can help to support healthy joint function, and also to help repair joint damage, and discount vitamins are the best way to tackle the problem of maintaining a good intake of those that are most effective, namely, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, vitamins A, C, D and E, and supplemental MSM, hyaluronic acid and calcium.
You do not need them all, but only testing will enable you to decide which work for you. You should also contact your physician before taking discount vitamin supplements if you have any other medical problems.
Viterol A - Viatrozene gel 16% - reduce the signs of aging!
February 25, 2006 02:05 PM
An old Indian remedy gives your teeth a new gleam - NEEM
July 27, 2005 04:23 PM
Keen on Neem
An old Indian remedy gives your teeth a new gleam.
The search for clean teeth, healthy gums and fresh breath is not just a modern obsession, but an age-old fixation. Dental historians believe that ancient cavity rates ranged from 1% among Eskimos, with their highly carnivorous diet, to 80% among members of Egypt’s royalty, who feasted on dainties that included many high-carb delights. So it’s no surprise that most ancient cultures had their favorite oral hygiene therapies.
In Indian, the tooth scrubber of popular choice was twigs taken from the neem tree. Small wonder: This tropical evergreen’s therapeutic versatility sports and impressive 4,000-year-old track record, earning it the nickname of “village pharmacy.” Indians who went abroad carried neem with them, and they put the entire tree-bark, fruit, leaf, root, seed-to health-enhancing use. One famous Indian emigrant, Mahatma Gandhi, was a keen neem enthusiast; after returning to his native land, Gandhi held prayer meetings under a neem tree.
Today, neem’s beautiful branches grace a vast swath of the Southern Hemisphere, including Australia (which may become the biggest neem-producing nation over the coming decades), Fiji, sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South America and the Caribbean. This remarkable plant’s Sanskrit name, arista, says it all-“perfect, complete and imperishable.”
Keeping Teeth Intact
Your dentist is actually the second one to drill your pearly whites. The first drillers are the germs that reside in your mouth-or, to be more accurate, the acids these wee beasties produce. Their handiwork: dental caries, or just plain cavities. These bacteria are also responsible for gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss if unchecked. What’s even worse, low-level inflammation caused by disordered gums may create the kind of blood-vessel havoc associated with heart problems.
Neem extracts act against a variety of detrimental microbes, which may explain its time-tested success in helping to keep teeth whole. Scientists at India’s Zydus Research Centre found that individuals who used a neem dental gel twice a day for six weeks enjoyed significant reductions in both plaque-the gummy, bacteria-harboring stuff that accumulates on teeth-and gum disease (International Dental Journal 8/04).
Neem’s fame is spreading among Northern Hemisphere consumers. It is becoming an herbally aware toothpaste ingredient valued for the fresh feeling its cool astringency imparts to the mouth. Neem is also a prized component of other health and beauty products, such as bath powders, lotions, shampoos and soaps.
In India, neem is a vital weapon in the arsenal of Ayurveda, that country’s system of traditional medicine. Practitioners there mash the leaves into a paste to alleviate chickenpox and warts, and brew them into tea to break malaria’s feverish grip. The leaves also make a soothing soak for fungus-infected feet.
Indian scientists are also hard at work studying neem. They’ve distilled the substances that account for neem’s ability to fight bacteria, fungi and parasites (including the pests that infest pets). Researchers have explored neem’s other traditional usages; in one study, a bark extract was able to ease ulcers (Life Sciences 10/29/04). What’s more, neem is esteemed for its contributions to Indian agriculture; the seedcake makes a nutritious feed supplement and bees that feed on neem are free of wax moths.
If you value keeping your teeth in gleaming condition, consider neem.
Diet and supplements can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer development.
July 27, 2005 03:27 PM
5. Diet and supplements can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer development.
“To reduce prostate cancer risk, the American Cancer Society recommends limiting intake of foods from animal sources, especially saturated fats and red meats,” says Colleen Doyle, MS, RD, director of nutrition and physical activity for the ACS. The ACA also advocates a diet high in fruits, vegetables, grains and beans. In addition, exercise and maintaining a healthy weight and crucial in keeping prostate troubles at bay.
Nutritional supplements may also be a strategic weapon in the war against prostate cancer, and the National Cancer Institute is banking on the ability of selenium and vitamin E to fight off the disease. Previous studies indicate that both nutrients help control cell damage that can lead to prostate cancer, and the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial (SELECT) will assess the effects of these supplements on prostate cancer risk. More than 32,000 men from the US, Puerto Rico and Canada are taking part in the long-term study. In addition to SELECT, smaller trials are being conducted on a variety of nutrients and their impact on prostate cancer, including vitamin D, lycopene, licorice root and soy isoflavones.
Cancer at the Millenium - the war on cancer entering its third decade...
June 13, 2005 10:23 AM
Cancer at the Millenium by Harriet Brown Energy Times, May 1, 1999
With the war on cancer entering its third decade, the necessity grows clearer for medical science to engage the enemy on several fronts. Until recently, high-tech medical weapons like vaccines and gene therapy, inspired by a flood of insights into the molecular basis of cancer, garnered most of the hope, hype, headlines and research money. The science was sexy and the prospect of a "cure" dramatic. But, today, advocates of prevention receive equal, if not greater, attention.
Improving our diets and prudently supplementing with vitamins and minerals, can deliver a major preventive impact. Contentious experts concede that at least a third (and probably more) of all cancers can be blamed on a combination of eating too much of the wrong foods and not enough of the right ones.
The Dietary Difference
Though cancer can progress rapidly once it leaps past its inception, it develops over many years and in several stages. Beneficial compounds in food and supplements may intervene along a line that runs from initial exposure to carcinogens to the final step into outright malignancy. Nutrients may: - counteract environmental poisons and the toxic byproducts of liver metabolism
The Big Picture The dietary guidelines advocated by the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute (which generally coincide with those of most health organizations) may sound familiar: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Get lots of fiber. Limit fat, especially animal fat. Go easy on meat and avoid the cured variety (they contain nitrites). If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation. Watch your total calories, and your weight. Pretty straightforward stuff.
Carotenoids, as their name suggests, are orange and red pigments in fruits and vegetables, most notably carrots and tomatoes, although they're also in everything from sweet potatoes to spinach and brussels sprouts (in the latter their distinctive color is masked by green chlorophyll).
Lycopene, a carotenoid found primarily in tomatoes, displays double the free radical-fighting activity of beta carotene, the most widely studied carotenoid. Of 72 studies looking at consumption of tomatoes or tomato-based products reviewed in the February 1999 Journal of the National Cancer Institute, almost half showed a significant reduction in one or more of a variety of cancers.
Research shows that lycopene may be best at lowering a man's risk of prostate cancer. A 1995 Harvard Medical School study (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995; 87: 1767-76) queried nearly 48,000 male health-care professionals about their consumption of fruits and vegetables. The only foods that reduced their risk of prostate cancer were, apparently, tomato sauce, tomatoes, pizza (tomato paste). For those who ate ten servings a week, risk dropped 45 percent; with four to seven servings, 20 percent. In animal studies lycopene decreased the number and size of mammary tumors (Eleventh International Symposium on Carotenoids, 1996).
Tomatoes are one of the richest sources of lycopene. Cooking tomatoes helps by releasing the lycopene from the plant cell walls. Also, the oil in tomato sauce enhances absorption in the stomach. Lycopene is also available in supplements.
Wine drinkers rejoiced when resveratrol, a constituent of the skin of red grapes, was found to protect their hearts (by blocking oxidation of LDL cholesterol and discouraging blood clotting). Now they have another reason to toast this potent antioxidant. When researcher John Pezzuto at the University of Illinois at Chicago screened about 1,000 plants for anticancer activity, he came up with one whose active ingredient turned out to be resveratrol. In lab tests it squelched both free radicals and inflammation, two well-known cancer inducers (Science, 6/10/97). In a study with mice, resveratrol reduced the number of skin tumors by up to 98 percent compared to control animals. Because the effective doses were high (Pezzuto estimates a person would have to quaff about five gallons of wine a day to get the equivalent) and because more than a drink or two a day may raise the risk of breast cancer, researchers don't recommend nondrinkers take up wine. But supplements of synthesized resveratrol (as well as grape juice) may help.
Saturated fat is an authentic dietary villain. Aside from clogging arteries, it's a suspected contributor to several cancers, though the evidence is greater for some cancers (prostate) than for others (breast cancer)
Of the two other main categories of fats, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, mono seems benign, if not positively protective. For example, in a study of the influence of diet on breast cancer, Greek researchers discovered that women who consumed higher amounts of olive oil (which is mostly mono) were less likely to be afflicted with breast cancer (Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995: 87; 110-116).
When it comes to polyunsaturated fats, however, things get complicated. The fat that predominates in corn, sunflower and other vegetable oils, called omega-6, has long been associated with cancer risk in animal experiments. Likewise the type found in margarines, trans fats, which are partially saturated vegetable oils. On the other hand, the omega-3 fats called EPA and DHA, which are found primarily in deep- and cold-water fish like cod, mackerel, and halibut, protect against both heart disease and cancer. In an epidemiological study covering 24 European countries, British researchers established that mortality rates for colon and breast cancers declined as fish and fish oil consumption rose (British Journal of Cancer 1996: 74; 159-64). And Finnish scientists discovered that the breast tissue of women who had breast cancer contained significantly less DHA and EPA than the breasts of healthy women (Nutrition and Cancer 1995: 24; 151-160).
Experts believe the omega-3s' anticancer effect derives from its ability to tamp down the prostaglandins that stimulate inflammation. Chronic inflammation unleashes a steady stream of free radicals, which can damage DNA and thereby trigger cancer. Omega-3s also help the liver detoxify potentially harmful substances.
Fortunately for the fish-phobic, nonmarine sources of omega-3 fats include flaxseed and hemp oils.
Minerals to Lower Cancer Risk
n Calcium: possibly protective against colon cancer. In a recent trial (New England Journal of Medicine, 1/14/99) researchers gave people with a history of precancerous colon polyps either two 600 mg calcium tablets a day or a placebo for nine months and found fewer polyps. n Selenium: powerful antioxidant and supporter of immunity. Researchers find that cancer rates in various regions is lowered when soil and vegetables contain more selenium
In a selenium-depleted area in China afflicted with one of the highest incidences of stomach and esophageal cancer mortality in the world, scientists asked different groups to take various combinations of nutrients. After five years they found a significant reduction in the cancer rate among those who had gotten supplements of selenium, vitamin E and beta carotene (Biological Trace Element Research 1985; 7: 21-29). In the U.S. researchers studying the potential effectiveness of selenium supplementation for preventing nonmelanoma skin cancers came up with a surprise. The 200 mcg a day the subjects received for an average of 4.5 years had no impact on skin cancer but did significantly cut the rates of lung, colorectal and prostate cancers (Journal of the American Medical Association, 12/25/96).
More recently Harvard researchers determined that men with prostate cancer had much lower levels of selenium in their toenails (a measure of consumption) than healthy men (Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 8/119/98).
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower and kale, have long been singled out for their association with protection against cancer. In a 1996 survey of 94 population studies and clinical trials focusing on consumption of cruciferous vegetables, 67 percent showed a reduced risk, the strongest link being with lung, stomach, colon and rectal cancers (Cancer Epidemiological Biomarkers 1996; 5: 733-748).
Scientists at Johns Hopkins showed that sulforaphane, from these plants, stimulates enzymes that help detoxify carcinogens generated in the liver. When they injected rats with a cancer-causing chemical, only 26 percent of the rodents pretreated with sulforaphane developed mammary cancer, compared to 68 percent of controls. Even animals who did come down with cancer had tumors that appeared later and smaller.
Other researchers have focused on a cruciferous-vegetable compound called indole-3-carbinol, which has proved especially effective against breast cancer cells. Recently, scientists at the University of California at Berkeley found that indole-3-carbinol, rather than acting as an anti-estrogen, (as had been thought), actually stops breast cancer cells by turning off a protein critical to their replication (Jrnal of Bio Chem, 2/13/98). Consequently, when treating certain forms of cancer, some doctors have paired indole-3-carbinol with the chemotherapy drug tamoxifen - which counteracts estrogen - and found that the combination has proven more potent than either separately.
Several decades ago British physician Denis Burkitt proposed that the low incidence of colon cancer among native peoples in South Africa was attributable to the fact that their diet was rich in fiber. The fiber, it was hypothesized, bulked up the stool, speeding its passage through the bowel and reducing the time carcinogens contact its lining; it also helped neutralize cancer-promoting bile acids.
This concept has been backed up by numerous studies. Recently, Harvard researchers sprinkled cold water on this idea, finding that an examination of the eating habits of more than 80,000 female nurses, could find no protective effect against colon cancer or precancerous polyps from consuming fiber (NEJM, January 21, 1999). Most experts' take on this apparent refutation: Maybe the "high fiber" intake in this case wasn't high enough, and this is just one study among many.
Fighting Breast Cancer
Fiber has also been linked to reduced rates of breast cancer. At first it was thought that if fat was a breast-cancer culprit, fiber might just be a marker for a low-fat diet. But a look at Finland undermined that idea: Finnish women eat both a lot of fat and a lot of fiber, and their breast cancer rate ranks much below that in the U.S., (where we eat gobs of fat and little roughage).
Fiber helps take estrogen out of circulation as it passes through the liver, while the isoflavones in many high-fiber plants and vegetables are themselves weak estrogens, which compete for slots on breast tissue's estrogen receptors. The special fiber in flaxseed oil called lignans act against estrogen in two ways: by binding its receptors and by inhibiting the enzyme that converts other hormones into estrogen.
Fiber comes in two basic forms, insoluble (e.g., wheat bran, celery, the skins of fruits and vegetables) and soluble (e.g., oat bran, citrus fruits, beans). Until a few years ago, scientists believed that cancer protection came mainly from insoluble fiber, but that thinking has turned around.
A soluble fiber called citrus pectin has been shown to halt the tendency of prostate, lung, breast and skin cancers to metastasize, or spread (e.g., Journal of the National Cancer Institute 1995; 87: 3448-353). Typically cancer turns deadly only when it gets into the bloodstream and invades new territory. Modified citrus pectin appears to stop this aggression by preventing cancer cells from attaching to healthy tissue.
While the name inositol hexaphosphate (IP6) sounds like a mouthful, many of us consume mouthfuls of this natural substance every day - in foods like corn, rice, whole-grain cereals, oats and wheat.
But now scientists have isolated IP-6 and found that this powerful antioxidant can slow the destructive cellular processes that lead to tumors. In a study published in Anti-Cancer Research (Nov/Dec 1998), scientists at the University of Maryland School of Medicine demonstrated that IP-6 could shrink liver tumors in laboratory animals.
The researchers believe that IP-6 can help prevent cancer and also be useful in lowering the risk of health problems like kidney stones and heart disease. Research like this continues to expand our knowledge of how to lower the risk of cancer. In the next millennium, with more and more information making its way into the media and onto websites, our power and the responsibility to reduce our risk of cancer will continue to grow and offer new possibilities.
Acupuncture nutrient Connection
June 12, 2005 05:53 PM
Acupuncture nutrient Connection by Robert Gluck Energy Times, November 1, 1998
The theory behind the practice of acupuncture confounds western science. This therapy, originating in Asia, is based on the concept that currents of energy called meridians flow through your body. However, no one has ever been able to conclusively demonstrate the existence of these meridians.
Despite the evasiveness of these energy streams, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) holds that alterations in these energy flows can disrupt health and cause pain. Consequently, an acupuncturist punctures your skin with specialized needles to redirect the body's vital energy.
Despite the fact that western scientists have not been able to find satisfactory evidence of the existence of these energetic meridians, studies show that acupuncture works and is especially effective at relieving pain. This therapy has been used to alleviate a variety of conditions including chronic pain, nausea and even mental illness. In addition, some practitioners apply it to those trying to shake off the chains of drug addiction. (More recently, many practitioners now also successfully use acupuncture to relieve physical problems in animals.)
Of course, no matter what your perspective on this therapy, acupuncture's no panacea. While you might use acupuncture to relieve the discomforts of chemotherapy, you wouldn't use this technique as your primary weapon against a dangerous disease like cancer. Still, this reliable therapy occupies a welcome spot as an adjunct to many mainstream therapies. Consequently, many mainstream practitioners accept the validity of using acupuncture and many managed care companies reimburse this therapy. Some HMOs even keep a list of approved acupuncturists that they make available to enrollees.
Acupuncture East and West
The practice of acupuncture dates back at least 2200 years ago in Asia. Only during the last forty years has it become well-known and widely available in the United States. Today, 29 accredited acupuncture schools train practitioners in North America. In addition, traditional healers in Belize (south of Mexico) have been found to use a form of acupuncture derived from traditional Mayan medicine.
Is the use of acupuncture by Mayan shamans coincidence? Or further evidence that acupuncture meridians really exist? No one knows for sure, although some experts believe the Mayan use of this therapy supports the notion that the original ancestors of the Mayans migrated from Asia.
Acupuncturists insert needles into the body to relieve pain or enhance bodily functions. TCM holds that acupuncture, and the manipulation of these tiny needles, moves and manipulates qi (pronounced chee), the body's energy force.
"Acupuncture is a method of balancing the body's energy," says Carol Alexander, an acupuncturist at the North Jersey Health and Pain Relief Center in Hackettstown, New Jersey. "Disease occurs because of an imbalance...Insertion of the acupuncture needles into meridians will bring about the balance of qi." Alexander has practiced acupuncture for 10 years and studied at the Tri-State School of Traditional Acupuncture in Stanford Connecticut.
Alexander says patients sometimes suffer a blockage of qi or display too much or too little qi. The manipulation and placement of the acupuncture needles vary according to the need for adjusting meridian energy flow.
Acupuncture can be used to prevent disease and, if disease is already rampant, it can be used to help the body correct the problem.
In conjunction with her use of acupuncture needles, Alexander rarely prescribes single herbs but uses combinations of whole herbs that are very specific for different diseases and disease patterns. "Certain herbs, such as ginseng, are very prized in Chinese medicine," Alexander notes.
"Astragalus is an herb used in China and around the world to tonify the qi and increase qi energy as well as stimulate the immune system."
Alexander uses licorice root for assisting digestion and for helping women with menopausal discomforts. On the other hand, she recommends whole food concentrates like bee pollen granules for enhancing the immune system, peppermint for treating gastro-intestinal problems plus fiber supplements as well as the antioxidant/antihistamine quercetin, coenzyme Q10 and melatonin.
"In terms of classes of nutrients, I use a lot of whole food concentrates: the green concentrates like barley greens, wheat grass powder, spirulina and blue-green algae," Alexander says. "These are high in minerals, antioxidants, nutrients and fatty acids. I also use some soy products because the isoflavone concentrates are very much anti-cancer."
The Fine Points of Acupuncture
Acupuncture needles are very fine, as thin as hairs. They are available in a variety of diameters and lengths. When an acupuncturist inserts these needles, the sensation is that of mild pinpricks. (The needles enter the body at depths of only 1/8th inch to two inches.) In many cases people experience mild pleasure during needle manipulation.
"From a Western point of view it's important to explain that there is a distinct function of acupuncture treatment and that is to increase circulation," Alexander says. "We do stimulate nerves and we know that with the stimulation of nerves many neurochemicals and neurotransmitters are released. They move through the nerves and find receptor sights, some in the brain, some in other parts of the body."
By stimulating nerves, acupuncturists can calm inflammation and deaden pain. These effects are believed to be linked to the release of endorphins and dinorphins, powerful painkillers and anti-inflammatories that the body produces for itself. Most acupuncturists use this therapy as part of an overall, multi-faceted treatment plan.
"Qi is what makes you different from a sack of chemicals," points out David Molony, an acupuncturist at the Lehigh Valley Acupuncture Center in Catasaqua, Pennsylvania who studied at the Nanjing Traditional Medicine Hospital in China and has lectured at Cornell University.
What You Need
"You can manipulate qi with acupuncture, herbs and diet. Because people's bodies work differently, there are different approaches. When you ask the question what nutrients and herbs are effective at enhancing acupuncture, it depends on what the person needs, according to an Oriental Medicine diagnosis."
An Oriental Medical examination, Molony says, begins with a long list of health questions designed to reveal factors that contribute to disease. A practitioner measures your pulse in several different places along your arm, inspects your tongue, may press on your stomach, sniff your general odor and closely examine your nails and skin for signs of problems.
"You take in everything you can," adds Molony, a board member of the Acupuncture Society of Pennsylvania and former board member of the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. "This gives you clues that you need in order to make your diagnosis."
Acupuncturists use nutrients and herbs that complement the treatment, as well as dietary and lifestyle counseling. Some acupuncturists don't specialize in herbal remedies, so these practitioners might go to a specialist like David Winston for advice. Winston, an herb expert skilled in Cherokee, Chinese and Western eclectic herbal medicine, works as an instructor, lecturer and consultant.
"In China, acupuncture is considered a complementary therapy; you generally don't go for treatment and get purely acupuncture," says Winston who is working on a book about saw palmetto. "Herbal medicine, diet and qi gong are important therapies in their own right and acupuncture is one of those therapies. Qi gong is a form of martial arts that focuses on unique breathing and visualization methods. Qi is not exactly energy, it's energy in movement; it's what makes the blood move."
Acupuncture is used to open blockages that sometimes build up in what TCM practitioners characterize as excessive heat or cold. These hot and cold spots do not always literally refer to the temperature of the body but are meant to depict changes in the character of the body's vital energy.
Chinese acupuncturists don't necessarily treat diseases, but target clusters of physical discomforts. Winston says, "Herbal formulas change depending on the 'symptom pictures.' Somebody could have acute appendicitis but the symptom picture could vary. Usually Chinese acupuncturists use herbs like isatis (a very cold, drying herb that's a powerful anti-bacterial agent) and coptis (a powerful anti-bacterial herb)."
Americans often visit acupuncturists complaining of back pain or some type of musculoskeletal problem-a wrenched knee, a ligament that hasn't healed properly or perhaps a torn rotator cuff. "If the injury is hot to the touch, it's red, it's inflammatory-that's a condition where there's excessive heat and in that condition the acupuncturist would give herbs that are cooling and anti-inflammatory such as the root of large leaf gentian."
Pain that Moves
If someone suffers pain that moves, pain that is sometimes exacerbated by damp or humid conditions, acupuncturists often prescribe clematis root, a wild variety of the garden plant that is an anti-spasmodic, or acanthopanax, a relative of Siberian ginseng used for damp pain.
"If there's pain with excessive dampness," Winston says, "acupuncturists might use duhuo, a drying herb that opens the meridians."
Molony agrees with Winston that when it comes to choosing herbs to enhance acupuncture, accurate analysis of the root cause of the health problem is paramount to making the right decisions. For example, if a person is qi deficient and her tongue is thickly coated, she may not be processing her energy properly. Phlegm builds up, decreasing energy. "What you want to do is give them herbs that move phlegm, like citrus peel, and combine that with acupuncture points that move phlegm also," Molony says.
For stimulating metabolism, Molony uses lactoferin-processed colostrum from cows. He uses ginseng and atractylodes as qi tonics and he adds herbs like magnolia bark or atractylodes alba.
He believes antioxidants are helpful too, as preventive medicines, including vitamins C and E. These valuable nutrients disarm the harm that reactive molecules can wreak within the body.
So how important are herbs and nutrition to enhance acupuncture's effectiveness? Acupuncturists seem to agree that healthy doses of antioxidants (such as vitamins C and E plus antioxidants from grapeseed extract) as well as specialized herbs, turn this therapy into a highly effective healing tool. Those wanting to benefit from this penetrating technique should stock up on nutrients. Then sit back, relax, kick off your shoes and let the acupuncturist do her stuff.
June 10, 2005 05:32 PM
Allergy Alleviation by Cal Orey , February 2, 2002
Allergy Alleviation By Cal Orey
Welcome to the stuffed up world of seasonal allergic rhinitis: the wheezing, sneezing "inhalant allergies" that torment 35 million Americans. Adding insult to sinus pain, other allergens attack year-round. Air pollution, dust mites (microscopic gremlins that infest bedding, upholstery and rugs) and animal dander trigger allergies-or other respiratory ailments-in any season. Urban air is full of rubber tire particles, a true blowout for those with latex sensitivity. Altogether, roughly 50 million Americans-about one in five-suffer from some form of allergy, according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAAI). Tired of cross-pollinating with plants or being bowled over by dust balls? Vitamins, herbs and other nutrients can help you nip allergy discomfort in the bud.
The Allergy Response
Your immune system triggers an allergic response when it overreacts to otherwise harmless substances or antigens (we're talking dust, pollen and mold).The alarmed immune system then launches a defensive chemical reaction, releasing potent chemicals (antibodies) supposed to destroy the "invaders." The antibodies, called IgE, carry the invading substances to special cells, which zap them with more biochemicals. Among these protective cells are mast cells: they release histamine, the substance that causes swelling and inflammation to the linings of the nose, sinuses and eyelids, resulting in sneezing, upper respiratory congestion and itchy, watery eyes.
Just Blame The Folks
Most allergies are determined by your genes. If your Mom or Dad sneeze and scratch, there's a good chance you will, too. "That is not to say that we directly inherit an allergy to any specific substance. Rather, it seems as if we might inherit some kind of immune system defect or weakness that leaves us more vulnerable to allergies," explain co-authors Glenn S. Rothfeld, MD, and Suzanne LeVert in their book Natural Medicine for Allergies: The Best Alternative Methods for Quick Relief (Rodale). For some people, allergies lurk in food, throwing the immune system into overdrive. "Many natural medicine practitioners believe that a diet high in animal fats will contribute to the development of allergy and asthma, as does a diet high in food additives, such as preservatives and dyes," says Gary McLain, PhD, in his book The Natural Way of Healing: Asthma and Allergies (Dell). Worse, allergies can up the risk of asthma, which afflicts 15 million Americans. Most people afflicted with asthma also suffer allergies: the two are linked, according to the AAAAI. Allergy triggers of asthma include pollen, mold spores and house dust mites. Remember Helen Hunt's asthmatic son in the movie As Good As It Gets? His character endured allergies to dust, and living in New York (and watching his mom date Jack Nicholson) didn't help his immune system. Coughs, ear infections, fevers and visits to hospital emergency rooms curtailed his social life (and limited his close-ups as well). That kind of routine happens in real life, too. (Well, maybe close encounters with Jack N. are not included for most.) But when we breathe substances such as molds, they can induce swelling and inflammation of the bronchial airways which narrow and restrict air flow. This, in turn, causes wheezing and shortness of breath and can trigger an asthma "attack," according to Andrew Engler, MD, who specializes in allergy and asthma in San Mateo, California.
The Nose Knows: Chemical Sensitivities
Imagine a picture-perfect, crisp, clear Saturday morning. You make a final stop on your weekly errand run to the dry cleaner, where you drop off your laundry and spend a moment chatting up the owner. Back in your car, your eyes tear and you feel a bit woozy. Kenneth Bock, MD, and Nellie Sabin, writing in The Road to Immunity: How To Survive and Thrive in a Toxic World (Pocket Books) sense that your reaction could be chemical sensitivity, a difficult to diagnose but, in their opinion, very real malady. (Of course, a clinician can test you for immune responses to certain chemicals.) Reactions to chemicals produce the typical allergic responses: puffy or red-rimmed eyes; swelling; aching or stiff joints and muscles; irritability or dizziness; respiratory inflammations; headaches and the like. Villains include aerosol sprays, tobacco smoke, glues, insecticides and herbicides, household chemicals and fragrances. Identification and avoidance are key, say the authors. Vitamin C, which binds with chemicals, is one of the best nutritional defenses.
Breathing Problems Expand
Americans now freely take lifesaving medicines such as antibiotics and insulin but, in some people, "they have the potential to alter the immune system, which is where allergies begin," says Dr. McLain. (Consult your pharmacist if you have questions about your prescription medication.) We, as a nation, are also eating more chemicals, from the pesticides drenched on plants to the preservatives poured on prepared foods. We're breathing polluted air, which can lead to or exacerbate asthma, and then we choke on recycled air in sealed buildings. And while a century ago you were likely to have spent much of your time close to home, you can now hop on a supersonic plane and be taken to the other side of the globe within a matter of hours. With travel comes exposure to even more exotic allergens that can drive your immune system to distraction.
The All-Natural Gesundheit
Certain allergy-relief nutrients and herbs can help make life more bearable. Here's how they work: n Vitamin C for the lungs. According to experts, when vitamin C is low, asthma is high. Vitamin C carries the major antioxidant load in the airways and therefore contributes mightily to the health of the lungs. A study in the Annals of Allergy (73(1994):89-96) reported that in seven of 11 clinical trials since 1973, vitamin C supplementation provided "significant improvements" in respiratory function and asthma symptoms. n Vitamin E and carotene to suppress allergic reactions. These antioxidants may also help protect the respiratory tract from caustic pollutants. Vitamin E is reputed to be one of the most important nutrients for antioxidant protection in the lungs. In addition, these two substances decrease production of allergy-related compounds called leukotrienes. n Zinc for the immune system. Research shows that a deficiency in this trace mineral can weaken your immune system, setting you up as a target for allergies and infections. (Some vegetarians may not store sufficient amounts of this mineral and should take supplements.) Zinc comes to the body's rescue by taking part in the production of IgA, the gastrointestinal antibody that lines the digestive tract. "When IgA binds to an allergen, it keeps it from being absorbed into the bloodstream and thus from causing an allergic reaction," report Rothfeld and Levert. Also, zinc protects mucous membranes and helps convert beta carotene to vitamin A, another anti-allergy, immune-boosting nutrient. In a study of 100 participants at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, half took a zinc-based lozenge, while the other half received a dummy preparation. The participants taking zinc experienced a 42% reduction in the duration and severity of their common colds (Annals of Internal Medicine, 7/96). n Quercetin as an antihistamine. A valuable, anti-allergic flavonoid (plant coloring agent that is a powerful antioxidant), quercetin shines as a potent weapon against allergies and asthma. Believed to inhibit histamine release from mast cells and slow the production of other allergy-related compounds, it stabilizes mast cell membranes. Other flavonoid-rich extracts include grape seed, pine bark, green tea and Ginkgo biloba. n Additional helpful nutrients: Vitamin B-12, particularly to combat sensitivity to sulfites (The Nutrition Desk Reference [Keats]); selenium, an antioxidant that breaks down leukotrienes (Clinical Science 77, 1989: 495-500); and magnesium to relax bronchial tissues (Journal of the American Medical Association, 262 : 1210-3).
Herbal Remedies To The Rescue
n Nettles for hay fever relief. Research at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, Oregon, showed that 40 of 69 folks suffering from hay fever found moderate to extreme relief from taking freeze-dried stinging nettles (Planta Medica,  44-47). "It is nontoxic, cheap and preferable to antihistamines, which I think are significantly toxic," reports Andrew Weil, MD, in his book Natural Health, Natural Medicine: A Comprehensive Manual for Wellness and Self-Care (Houghton Mifflin). n Cayenne to reduce inflammation. Cayenne, known as hot red pepper, is rich in capsaicin, a potent flavonoid "counter-irritant" that dilates and soothes inflamed nasal and bronchial tissues, according to experts. A bonus: Cayenne also contains a rich amount of antioxidant vitamin C, which can help enhance your immune system. n Echinacea for allergy prevention. This popular Native American herb provides cold and allergy protection, particularly when you take it before encountering allergens. Studies reveal that echinacea aids your body's tissues and protects you from germs and allergens. In fact, German studies have found it possesses valuable antiviral, antibacterial and immunity-boosting properties.
Make Your World Allergy-Free
For the most effective allergy relief, make sure you stay clear of allergens that wreak allergy havoc. Visit an allergy-savvy health practitioner and get tested to find out which substances rock your respiratory world. Plus, allergy experts recommend: n Banish dust mites: sweep out clutter and have your house power-vacuumed, if necessary; wash bedding and linens in very hot water. n De-pollinate your environment: flip on the air conditioner to sift out pollen (keep its filter and any forced air registers clean); exercise indoors; machine dry, rather than line dry, your clothes. n Buy a home air filter, especially if you experience dust, pollen or pet dander allergies. n Avoid allergy triggers that dog your days: cats and canines (or consider the hairless or shed-less breeds), mold and tobacco smoke. No matter what you do or actions you take, allergies may always remain an annoyance in your life. But attention to the foods you eat, the places where you exercise and the right combination of anti-allergy nutrients can limit your discomfort.
Leveling The Leukotrine Playing Field
On a microscopic level, a series of biochemicals implicated in allergic reactions are leukotrienes, substances that may constrict the bronchial tubes (breathing passages). In some people, consuming the food additive tartrazine can cause severe asthmatic breathing difficulties by boosting leukotrine release. In turn, this can interfere with the body's use of vitamin B-6. The process in which lack of B-6 or "errors" in how your body uses B-6 causes allergic reactions and is complex. According to Michael Murray, ND and Joseph Pizzorno, ND in the revised edition of the Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Prima), breathing problems may begin when the metabolism of tryptophan (an amino acid) goes awry: "Tryptophan is converted to serotonin, a compound that, among other things, can cause the airways of asthmatics to constrict...Vitamin B-6 is required for the proper metabolism of tryptophan." Accordingly, a study of vitamin B-6, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, shows that people with compromised breathing may possess less B-6 in their blood than others who breathe normally. When people with asthma were given B-6, their wheezing and asthmatic attacks dropped.
Fat Fix For Allergies
The fat in your diet or supplements can also influence your susceptibility to allergies and asthma linked to allergies. Epidemiologists have found that countries where children eat fish at least four times a month cut their risk of asthma by 67% compared to other parts of the world where they consume fewer fish. Research on omega-3 fatty acids, the kind of fat found in fish, flax and hemp oil, demonstrates that some of these substances can improve breathing. In particular, fatty acids called eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) can help open up bronchial tubes. Studies in the American Review of Respiratory Disease and the International Archives of Allergy and Applied Immunology show that breathing passageways may not react so negatively to the presence of allergens when you eat more fish or take supplements containing these types of fats. Many of the scientists who study the kinds of fats we eat believe that the increase in allergies and asthma in the US during the twentieth century may be due to both increasing air pollution (which irritates our lungs) plus a simultaneous increase in our consumption of what are called omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 oils are contained in most of the vegetable oils Americans eat, including sunflower and peanut oils. While experts believe that we would be better off consuming a diet containing about five times as many omega-6 fatty acids as omega-3s, today we eat about 40 times as much omega-6s. The chemistry of how these fats influence our allergy susceptibility is complex. It begins in our cell membranes which consist mostly of fat. When we consume omega-3 fatty acids, in our diet or in supplements, and these fats enter cell membranes, the change in structure cuts the availability of arachidonic acid, a fatty acid your body can make and which is found in meat, eggs and dairy products. Eventually, it is thought that this change in cellular metabolism and reduction in arachidonic acid forces the body to make less 4-series leukotrienes, substances which are quite prone to provoking allergic inflammation and, instead, produce 5-series leukotrienes, leukotrienes which don't cause nearly as much trouble. This process requires patience. According to Pizzorno and Murray. "It may take as long as one year before the benefits are apparent, as it appears to take time to turn over cellular membranes in favor of the omega-3 fatty acids."
Chinese Medicine Versus Allergies
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) views allergies as an imbalance of the liver, says Jason Elias, co-author with Katherine Ketcham of The Five Elements of Self-Healing (Harmony Books). "The average American's (liver) deals with about fourteen pounds of chemicals a year. What would normally be a minor irritant becomes major because the liver can't process them anymore," explains Elias. Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) has traditionally been used to fight allergies since this herb battles inflammation as evidenced by Japanese research and a study published in the journal Allergy. Much of this anti-allergy action is thought to proceed from licorice's interaction with a biochemical called cortisol, a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands. Cortisol (along with epinephrine, another adrenal hormone) relaxes the muscles controlling airways. By slowing the liver's breakdown of cortisol, licorice prolongs circulation of this hormone which, in turn, can help breathing passages stay clear. In addition, glycyrrhetinic acid, a compound in licorice, slows the body's manufacture of prostaglandins and leukotrienes, substances which exacerbate allergic inflammatory reactions. Ma Huang (Ephedra sinica) has been employed for thousands of years to aid breathing since chemicals in this plant widen breathing passages.
Homeopathic Remedies for Allergy
Homeopathic treatments consist of highly diluted substances designed to coax the body into healing itself. The effectiveness of homeopathy for hayfever has been demonstrated by research published in Lancet performed at the University of Glasgow, Scotland. There, scientists showed that homeopathically-prepared medicines produced statistically significant improvements in allergy sufferers. The appropriate homeopathic remedy for any illness depends on the personality type of the person suffering an allergy. These treatments are among those recommended by Dana Ullman: n Allium cepa: appropriate for burning nasal discharge that grows worse in warm rooms and improves outdoors. Relieves non-burning tearing from eyes, raw feeling in the nose with tingling sensation and violent sneezing. n Nux vomica: used when feeling irritable and chilled, with daytime fluent nasal discharge and night congestion that grows worse indoors. Also for those sensitive to cold and to being uncovered. n Pulsatilla: best for women and children with daytime nasal discharge and night congestion who are gentle, yielding, mild, impressionable and emotional. Used when congestion is worse in warm rooms, hot weather or while lying down.
Food Allergy Conundrum Food allergies can prove to be the toughest allergies to identify and eliminate. Jason Elias believes that people may develop food sensitivities from eating the same foods too often. "If someone has an allergy, I might say 'Let's get you off dairy for three weeks,'" he says, noting that some people have limited their hay fever problems by ceasing to consume dairy products. Many have also found relief by maintaining a food diary, keeping track of which foods are associated with allergy attacks and then eliminating those foods. So the next time you sneeze, don't just reach for your hanky, think back to the meal that you just ate. Your allergy problem may be sitting in your stomach as well as making you sneeze and stuffing your sinuses. Taking these kinds of anti-allergy preventive measures can provide life-enhancing relief that feels like a godsend. That lets you attain your healthy best.
This article included reporting by Judy Pokras.
Basics of the Immune System
June 10, 2005 03:01 PM
Basics of the Immune System
by Leonid G. Ber, MD Energy Times, September 1, 1998
In a world filled with pathogens and microbes, good health and resistance to disease is no accident. It requires a vigorous and vigilant immune system. The immune system should be viewed as an internal security force that is constantly checking the identity of everything entering and already existing in the body. A cell or substance may be recognized as "non-self" and a potential enemy if it does not have the right molecular make-up. A cell displaying molecules produced according to a different blueprint than the body's own code may be recognized as foreign. To eliminate alien material that may harm the body, the immune system must take swift action.
Recognizing entities that originate outside the self forms the key to overall immune system response. This key is carried in the body by cells called macrophages (ma-kro-fajs), a name derived from a Greek term meaning "big eater." Macrophages eat or engulf foreign cells and molecules. When a macrophage encounters something that it distinguishes as being "non-self" or abnormal, it can attack the enemy with a series of assault weapons, including free-radicals (reactive substances) and enzymes, that dissolve and weaken the intruder. In fact, an enzyme produced by macrophages called lysozyme is recognized as one of nature's most powerful anti-infective agents. These chemical defenses, along with engulfment and complete digestion by macrophages, can effectively stymie invasion by disease-causing pathogens.
Harmful invasion can originate in the body's own cells as well as begin from outside sources. While we are constantly exposed to bacteria, viruses, fungal cells and parasites, destructive cancerous growths often start within the body.
Every day, thousands of the body's cells mutate into possible cancers. Under most circumstances, the immune system keeps these cells under control. But when the immune "security" system slips up, these harmful growths multiply unrecognized.
The initial immune response that recognizes invaders is called a "non-specific defense mechanism" since this immune response is generally the same toward all invaders. This counter-attack entails battling every invader pretty much identically: a macrophage can engage, dissolve, weaken, engulf, digest, eliminate. However, if, despite the initial immune efforts, the problem persists, a macrophage can tag an invader and "introduce" it to the rest of the immune system, thus recruiting more specialized types of immune cells to enter the battle. This tagging function endows macrophages with the name "antigen-presenting cells." (Antigens are substances that can provoke specific responses by the immune system.)
Most antigens are proteins. Proteins are relatively large molecules made of smaller units called amino acids. The specific geometric organization of amino acids is what conveys uniqueness to each protein. (Your genetic code forms a blueprint for the production of your own, individual proteins.) Protein molecules produced by one human being can act as an antigen for another human being. That's why organs transplanted from one person to another can be rejected by the immune system. Unless organs are transplanted from one identical twin to another (who share the genetic blueprint for protein creation), doctors must use immune-suppressing drugs to curtail organ rejection. At the same time as these medicines prevent transplant rejection, they also make people more susceptible to infectious diseases and cancer.
After one set of immune cells chemically tags antigens (invaders) for recognition, other highly specialized parts of the immune system go into action: Cells called T cells or T lymphocytes acknowledge the invaders and can take the further action (second line of defense) that is necessary to render them harmless.
T cells get their name from the thymus (an organ located behind the sternum) where they originate. The thymus, most active when we're young, usually shrinks and apparently slows or shuts down its activity about the age of forty.
A wide variety of T cells inhabit lymph nodes (soft, usually round, pea- or nut-sized organs) and other body areas. For instance, natural killer cells, as their name implies, are a particularly aggressive type of T cell. Another type of T cell is called T helper (a cell that supports development of immune response). T suppressors halt immune response when infection ends.
In order to make all these different cells work in concert, cytokines or messenger molecules are produced that facilitate constant communications between all the parts of the immune system.
The B Team
Other organs of the immune system include:
*bone marrow: a powerful cell producing organ where the majority of immune cells are born;
*spleen: an abdominal organ that forms a reservoir for the production of immune cells.
Lymph nodes oversee particular segments of the body where they collect and recycle tissue fluids. Like an early warning system, lymph nodes react when an invader is detected in the part of the body that it controls.
Yet another step in the so-called immune cascade entails action by lymphocytes, called B cells, which originate in the bone marrow. These cells produce antibodies which are immune proteins (immunglobulins) that attack specific antigens.
While traveling in the blood, an antibody can bind to an antigen, curtailing its harmful action. This bound up molecule forms a complex easily recognized by scavenging macrophages which make a quick meal out of the unlucky invader.
After enemy cells are removed from the body, knowledge of this victory resides in the immunological memory prolonging your resistance toward specific disease pathogens indefinitely. That's why someone who has recovered from a disease like the measles may be impervious to reinfection.
Rules for Optimum Immunity
Even though the immune system consists of a complex team of hard-working cells, enhancing your immunity is relatively easy:
Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Avoid continuous stress and negative emotions or cope with them through exercise or meditation. Consistent, moderate exercise can boost the immune system. Massage can also help although extreme care must be taken when inflammation or disease is already present.
Sleep 7-8 hours a day. Sleep allows the body to recover and rebuild. Protein synthesis, vital for a healthy immune system, increases during the night.
Stick to a healthy diet. Your immune system consists of trillions of cells. Consequently, nutrients important for cell health boost the immune system. A balanced low-calorie diet rich in complex carbohydrates, "good" fats (including fish oils, olive oil and flaxseed oil) along with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrient antioxidants from fresh fruits and vegetables can fortify immune cells. Plus, drinking plenty of water helps improve circulation of lymph fluid.
These recommendations are not hard to meet once they become a part of your daily routine. However, extra immune security may be necessary during flu season, while traveling long distances (airplanes are notorious sources of pathogens) or when working extensive hours in front of a computer screen. In addition, exposure to x-rays, immunosuppressive chemicals, ultraviolet radiation (the sun) or simply aging may give your immune cells extra burdens.
Your "specific" immune system does not respond immediately to the challenge of invasion by an infectious organism. Instead, it may require about 2 weeks for an effective reaction after antigen recognition and alerting T cells. During this period, the macrophages' non-specific defense assumes a crucial role in keeping infection in check.
Enhanced activity by macrophages is especially important for recognizing and destroying cancer cells. The most dangerous cancers are those that can mimic normal cells and avoid the immune system's wrath. Few substances can activate macrophage function in the body (aloe vera contains substances that contribute to this process). The most powerful macrophage activator recognized by the scientific community is a sugar-like substance called beta-1,3-D-glucan. Beta-glucan, extracted from the cell walls of common Baker's yeast, when taken in certain small amounts, can prevent infection by making macrophages more active in recognizing and attacking infectious bacteria, fungi and certain viruses.
This kind of activation can encourage macrophages to attack previously unrecognized tumor cells. As a result, tumors may be eradicated as the immune system mobilizes and produces what may be known as "spontaneous healing."
When a macrophage works overtime fighting disease, its demand for nutrients and energy increases dramatically. Vitamin C, known for its immune supporting function, seems to be especially important for maintaining fully active macrophages. Vitamin C collects in macrophages, often reaching forty times the concentration found in surrounding blood. What are conventionally considered normal amounts of vitamin C in the body may be insufficient to keep macrophages well supplied with this antioxidant. Therefore, extra amounts of vitamin C can keep the immune system in fighting trim.
Scientists are only now beginning to uncover the secrets of the highly organized immune system. One thing's certain: The immunity security team depends on proper lifestyle, nutrition and supplements to maintain the critical defenses necessary for good health.
Dr. Ber received his doctorate in internal medicine from the Yaroslavle, State Medical Institute in Yaroslavle, Russia.
Pycnogenol Complex - The Next Generation of Antioxidant Protection
June 04, 2005 02:14 PM
If there’s one factor that has the greatest negative impact on our health, it is the damage done to our cells by free radicals. These highly unstable molecules disrupt the biochemical processes that regulate life. Although a natural product of oxygen metabolism in the body, free radicals are also produced in vast quantities by modern technology. Our bodies’ natural defenses simply have not been able to keep up with the onslaught of these dangerous products of civilization. On the other hand, technology has offered help by identifying some of nature’s most powerful weapons against free radical attack. Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX is an unprecedented combination of these extremely potent plantbased antioxidants, or Plantioxidants™. Consider them your antidote to the industrial revolution.
How free radicals are formed and their effect on the body
Oxygen both makes life, and takes life. The energy that animates us comes from the biochemical reactions that burn oxygen within our cells. And though carefully regulated by the body, this biological combustion, over time, inevitably leads to cellular damage. If oxidation is not carefully controlled, tissues are damaged faster than the body can repair them. This is caused by an excess of over-reactive, electron hungry molecules called oxidants or “free radicals,” which tend to disrupt normal cellular activity. Free radicals attack a cell’s membrane and can even damage its hereditary blueprint (DNA). Since free radicals are a natural result of certain metabolic reactions, the body synthesizes several types of antioxidant enzymes to neutralize them. In addition, we get essential antioxidants from the foods we eat. Vitamins C, E and beta carotene are the ones found most often in our diet. During this century, our environment has become a perpetual source of free radical contamination, primarily from radiation and the chemical pollution in our air, water and food. Today, we are literally overwhelmed with more free radicals than our bodies are accustomed to handling. Fortunately, science has found that certain plants contain special antioxidants that are far more powerful than the vitamins we typically get in our diet. With this knowledge, Source Naturals formulated PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX, the most advanced combination of Plantioxidants available today in one product. Pycnogenol® is the proprietary name of a natural plant product made from the bark of the European coastal pine, Pinus maritima.
Natural protection against free radicals
Pycnogenol® Complex – A Cornucopia of Health Our knowledge of pine bark goes back nearly 500 years, to when the French explorer, Jacques Cartier, reported that a tea made from pine tree bark by Native Americans saved the lives of his crew who were dying of scurvy. Nutrition scientists have since isolated the extraordinary antioxidant compounds of pine bark. They have also discovered many other unique antioxidants throughout the plant kingdom. Plants have evolved bioflavonoids to protect themselves from free radical damage. One of the most abundant compounds in the plant kingdom, bioflavonoids are found in the pigments of bark, rinds, seeds, leaves and flowers.
Natural antioxidants in Pycnogenol® Complex
The active ingredients of Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX are derived from a diverse range of nature’s plenty: pine bark, green tea, turmeric spice, rosemary, grape seeds, milk thistle seeds, bilberries, hawthorn berries and ginkgo leaves. Each of these Plantioxidants is an exceptional free radical scavenger, and each has a tendency to concentrate in a different organ of the body, thus providing targeted protection. And since their primary function is to capture free radicals, these Plantioxidants free up vitamin C, so it can perform its many other vital functions.
Defense Plants The two headliners of Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX are the pine bark extract, Pycnogenol®, and an extract from grape seeds, Proanthodyn™. Their unsurpassed antioxidant activity – up to 20 times that of Vitamin C and up to 50 times that of Vitamin E – comes from a high concentration of proanthocyanidins.
Why Pycnogenol® Complex is formulated with extracts of pine bark and grape seed
These highly bioavailable flavonoids are able to cross the Blood-Brain Barrier, and can stay in the bloodstream for up to 72 hours. Few other nutritional antioxidants cross this barrier, and none do it as well. Proanthocyanidins therefore offer the brain and central nervous system unparalleled antioxidant protection. In particular, proanthocyanidins may help reduce the formation of lipofuscin, a brown waste material made of free radical-damaged proteins and fats. Over time, lipofuscin deposits form in the brain, heart, and skin. The “age” or “liver” spots that develop on the backs of some elderly peoples’ hands are made of lipofuscin. Because they’re rich in unsaturated fatty acids, cell membranes are the primary site of free radical attack. Proanthocyanidins are able to protect against both water- and fat-soluble free radicals. Also, their chemical structure is incorporated within cell membranes, making proanthocyanidins very effective in preventing damage to the cell’s interior. This is vital, because if a cell’s DNA is disrupted, it could lead to the abnormal reproduction of that cell. For many years now, Europeans have used pine bark and grape seed extracts to maintain vein and capillary health. Proanthocyanidins support the circulatory system by helping to keep collagen and elastin, the essential constituents of vessel walls, from breaking down during times of imbalance. And most importantly, proanthocyanidins can help prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. Scientists now recognize that it’s not cholesterol itself, but the oxidation of cholesterol that can be problematic.
How Plantioxidants benefit different organs in the body
The Power of Diversity
In addition to the broad protection offered by Pycnogenol® and Proanthodyn, Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX offers an outstanding array of other Plantioxidants. Each has unique abilities to protect the body from oxidants. For several thousand years, Green Tea has been enjoyed in the Orient, not only for its taste, but also as a health tonic. Upon analysis, it contains several strong antioxidants, called Polyphenols, with exceptional free radical scavenging abilities. Polyphenols have been shown to be over 200 times more effective than vitamin E in preventing oxidative damage to brain cells. Source Naturals uses a potent extract of green tea that concentrates 2,000 pounds of fresh green tea leaves into one pound of finished product. This extract has been awarded 30 patents for its protective effects. The ancient Ginkgo Biloba tree has long been prized for its beneficial qualities. Like proanthocyanidins, ginkgo’s compounds are able to cross the Blood-Brain Barrier, and support cell membrane and capillary integrity. Its particular antioxidant constituents have been associated with superior oxygen transport to the brain. This is important because the brain uses 20% of all inhaled oxygen. Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX uses a superior 50 to 1 extract, providing 24% Ginkgoflavoneglycosides and 6% Terpenoids. Bilberries were first studied for their capacity to heighten visual acuity in normal subjects under poor light conditions. In fact, to increase their night vision, RAF pilots ate bilberry jam during WW II. Its antioxidant compounds, Anthocyanosides, have an affinity for delicate eye tissues, where it quenches free radicals and supports capillary strength. Source Naturals utilizes a standardized bilberry extract with 25% anthocyanosides, 80 times more potent than regular bilberry.
The wide range of natural antioxidants in Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX
Milk Thistle Seed Extract has been researched and used for over 20 years in Europe. Its antioxidant compound, called Silymarin, has a special preference for the liver. It’s one of the few nutrients that can support the liver’s natural regenerative processes. By enhancing DNA activity, liver cells can regenerate up to five times faster. Turmeric Extract contains 95% Curcumin, the active ingredient of this traditional East Indian spice. Curcumin promotes the body’s own production of antioxidant enzymes, including glutathione peroxidase, an important protector of the liver. Curcumin also increases the production and secretion of bile, which is used to remove cholesterol from the body. Quercetin has been well-researched for its free radical scavenging activity. Because of its ability to stabilize cell membranes, quercetin helps prevent damage and discomfort from reactionary (histamine- and leukotriene-related) processes in the body. Source Naturals quercetin has been isolated from plant sources. Rosemary and Hawthorn Berries both contain bioflavonoid antioxidants that have the unique ability to neutralize the hydroxyl radical, a particularly dangerous type of free radical. Hydroxyls are produced by exposure to excessive radiation and pollution from burned fossil fuels. The body has no innate defense system against it. Vitamin C is one of the most active and abundant antioxidants in the body, so it must be frequently replenished. Since it works in conjunction with bioflavonoids, each tablet of Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX contains 500 mg of vitamin C, bound to Magnesium for increased bioavailability.
A World of Help
As we better understand how free radicals affect our health and well being, it’s important that we take advantage of the wonderful protective qualities found in certain plants. These Plantioxidants provide the appropriate means to counteract the destructive effects of excessive free radicals, which have become part and parcel of modern life. Source Naturals PYCNOGENOL® COMPLEX brings the diverse and concentrated power of the plant world into your world of wellness.
COLOSTRUM TRANSFER FACTOR - Supports Immune System Integrity
June 01, 2005 11:48 AM
Colostrum, the first “mother’s milk, plays an important role in the body’s immune system—and your immune system needs to be in top shape to withstand all the foreign influences that pervade our environment. Now Source Naturals offers you COLOSTRUM TRANSFER FACTOR, a powerful new weapon developed through the use of breakthrough nutritional technology. Transfer factors are isolated from cow’s colostrum. As a result, each capsule of these immune system messengers contains significantly higher transfer factor activity (minimum 20 potency units) than our regular colostrum. Source Naturals is among the first national supplement companies to make this important, innovative product available to the general public.
Colostrum and Immune Health
Colostrum is the nourishing “milk” given to newborn mammals by their mothers. It is secreted only in the first 48 to 72 hours after birth. Although colostrum’s importance to newborn health, and specifically to the development of a strong immune system, has been known for years, research on colostrum’s use as a dietary supplement has flourished only since the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Transfer Factor: What Is It?
Transfer Factors are chemical messengers of the immune system. These chemical compounds (ribonucleoprotein molecules) convey important information from certain white blood cells developed in the thymus gland to the body’s other T-cells. This information can be conveyed from one organism to another, and from one species to another. Scientists have been studying the role of Transfer Factors in the immune system since the 1940’s. However, they have only recently been able to develop the technology to mass-produce Transfer Factor. The Transfer Factor used in COLOSTRUM TRANSFER FACTOR is prepared using an advanced proprietary technology that ensures a purified and potent product.
Advanced Proprietary Technology
The bovine colostrum in COLOSTRUM TRANSFER FACTOR goes through a molecular ultrafiltration process that enriches its Transfer Factor content. Ultrafiltration also removes high-molecular weight materials such as growth hormones and protein allergens, as well as low-molecular weight products such as antibiotics, lactose and steroids. The material is then freeze-dried and assayed for potency. The assay measures Transfer Factor activity, ensuring that the product is potent enough to produce an immune response in the body both before and after encapsulation. Each capsule of COLOSTRUM TRANSFER FACTOR contains a fraction of bovine colostrum supplying 5 mg of Polyvalent Transfer Factor, with a minimum of 20 potency units per capsule. COLOSTRUM TRANSFER FACTOR is available in bottles of 30 and 60 capsules.
Chem-Defense - Fight Chemical sensitivity ...
June 01, 2005 10:21 AM
CHEMICAL SENSITIVITY IS REAL.
COURTESY OF THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION, OUR ENVIRONMENT HAS BECOME A STEW OF FOREIGN CHEMICALS. For some people suffering the malaise, lack of focus, and drained feeling associated with chemical sensitivities, home is the only sanctuary from this onslaught. For others, not even home is safe. We at Source Naturals take this threat very seriously. That’s why we created CHEM-DEFENSE.
Source Naturals’ CHEM-DEFENSE is a potent combination of Molybdenum, Glutathione, and Coenzymated B-2, nutrients which research has shown may help break down and dispel harmful chemicals from the body. And CHEM-DEFENSE is sublingual — it dissolves under the tongue so it goes directly into your bloodstream, where it can be delivered to your system, fast.
major problem has hit America in the late 20th century that is more far reaching than most people are aware — chemical sensitivity. In fact, some studies indicate that 1 out of 3 Americans may be afflicted with chemical sensitivities. In the past century, modern organic chemistry has synthesized and released into the world an estimated 300,000 xenobiotic (foreign to our normal biology) chemicals. The food processing and food growing industries put an approximate 10,000 xenobiotic chemicals into our food supply alone. These chemicals can be found in common items such as cleaning fluids, drycleaning compounds, glues, cigarette smoke, perfume, building materials and processed foods. Chemical sensitivity is the result of impairment or inadequacy of the body’s natural detoxification systems, allowing excessive levels of harmful, xenobiotic chemicals to accumulate in the body, and the results are often devastating. In sensitive people, artificial chemicals can cause an incredible range of problems: “fogginess” and lack of focus, emotional distress, fatigue, and more. The parts of the body that are most affected can vary from person to person. Some of the worst offenders are the aldehydes. The most infamous of these is formaldehyde (found in such widely used items as permanent press clothing, particle board, paints and upholsteries). The other common culprit is acetaldehyde (produced by Candida overgrowth or from alcohol consumption).
The Secret to CHEM-DEFENSE’S Power is Molybdenum
Fortunately, nature has provided the body with a special aldehyde detoxification pathway: an enzyme called aldehyde oxidase (ADO). ADO is activated by one of the coenzyme forms of Vitamin B2, Flavin Adenine Dinucleotide (FAD), and the trace mineral Molybdenum. Unfortunately, this enzymatic pathway can become impaired due to overexposure to foreign chemicals. In addition, aging, nutritional deficiencies, genetics and general poor health can greatly diminish the body’s production of these enzymes, causing a toxic buildup of aldehydes, leaving many individuals vulnerable. Current nutritional research has revealed that supplementing the diet with Molybdenum and Coenzyme B-2, both found in CHEM-DEFENSE, can increase levels of the important enzyme ADO, helping to dispel toxins from the body. A study published in the Townsend Letter for Doctors confirms the benefits of a sublingually administered 300 mcg dose (100 mcg three times a day) of Molybdenum. It was found that on the average, about 50-65% of the various symptoms of chemical sensitivity — including fogginess and other discomforts — were alleviated at least to some degree. Molybdenum is also important for several other enzymes, including xanthine oxidase, and most importantly, sulfite oxidase. Sulfite oxidase is responsible for breaking down sulfites, chemicals widely used as preservatives in wines, salad bars, produce, and other foods. Sulfites are a common culprit in chemical sensitivity reactions. In fact, by the 1980’s, it was conservatively estimated that 5,000,000 (five million) Americans were sensitive to sulfites and experienced discomfort upon ingestion. Sulfite oxidase is also important in the sulfation of various compounds, especially in the brain. This is particularly important, as the brain is often dramatically affected during bouts of chemical sensitivity. According to the Nutrition Desk Reference, the amount of Molybdenum required daily for people is 100 mcg to 500 mcg. It also states that the amount of Molybdenum in food can vary tremendously, depending on crop soil levels. Low levels are not at all uncommon, and they are lessened even further by commercial farming practices that utilize synthetic fertilizers which do not put Molybdenum back into the soil. The result? The typical American diet does not provide adequate Molybdenum. The form of Molybdenum included in CHEM-DEFENSE is Molybdenum Aspartate-Citrate, Molybdenum bound to the cellular metabolites Aspartic Acid and Citric Acid. This has been shown to be the most bioactive form available by experts in mineral metabolism.
Glutathione in its Most Bioavailable Form
Ultimately, the one organ that must cope with and attempt to relieve the body of toxic chemicals is the liver, often referred to by nutritionists as “the body’s most overburdened organ.” To accomplish this, the liver must rely heavily on Glutathione, a tripeptide (three amino acids bound together). The Glutathione in CHEM-DEFENSE will help the liver to produce adequate levels of the important enzymes glutathione peroxidase (GSHpx) and glutathione S-transferase (GSH-S), enzymes that are essential for breaking down and disposing of foreign chemicals in the body. Glutathione peroxidase (GSHpx) helps to break down hydrogen peroxide, a medium-level toxin which is found in many xenobiotic chemicals. GSHpx also prevents cell damage caused by fatty acid oxidation, which threatens the integrity of cell membranes. Glutathione is very fragile. In fact, when taken orally, it is often destroyed by protein-digesting enzymes in the stomach. As CHEM-DEFENSE is in sublingual form, it bypasses the digestive process and goes straight into the bloodstream, allowing for maximum activity.
Coenzyme B2 — The “Recycling” Nutrient
Once Glutathione is used in the body for its detoxification functions, it becomes oxidized Glutathione, meaning it has been “used up.” Fortunately, the human body can “recycle” oxidized Glutathione and return it to its beneficial reduced (active) state. This process is made possible by a coenzyme form of Vitamin B2 (FAD), which is present in CHEM-DEFENSE.
Sublingual Delivery for Maximum Benefit
Many nutrients, when taken orally, are never completely absorbed into the bloodstream, or not absorbed at all! Because this formula is in sublingual form, the nutrients in CHEM-DEFENSE are absorbed directly into the bloodstream through the blood vessels under the tongue and in the cheeks, assuring maximum bioavailability and benefit. In America today, as foreign chemicals continue to be released into the environment on an uncontrolled basis, people continue to experience chemical sensitivities for which there appears to be no solution. Now there is. Source Naturals CHEM-DEFENSE combines the most bioavailable forms of key antioxidant nutrients that are not only powerful in and of themselves, but work together synergistically to address the problems associated with chemical sensitivities. As with all of their other products, Source Naturals has taken special care to create a product that is all natural, hypo-allergenic, and sugarfree. CHEM-DEFENSE sublingual is available in two delicious flavors — natural peppermint, and for people on homeopathic regimens who prefer an alternative to peppermint, natural orange flavor. Let’s face it — life in the modern world is a battle for your health. Arm yourself with a powerful weapon: Source Naturals CHEM-DEFENSE.
May 13, 2005 08:38 AM
Sulforaphane Stimulates the Body's Cancer-Fighting EnzymesSecret weapon Against Cancer Found in Broccoli Sprouts
by Richard Conant, L.Ac, C.N.
The health benefits of vegetables were known historically, long before researchers began seeing a connection between vegetable consumption and cancer prevention. Over the last twenty years, evidence concerning this connection has steadily accumulated. The latest and most promising findings reveal that specific vegetable constituents—"phytochemicals" to use current scientific parlance— enhance the body's defenses against cancer.
This article will focus on one phytochemical in particular, a sulfur-containing compound called "sulforaphane." Found in Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, sulforaphane may prove to be one of our most powerful cancer prevention allies. Recent studies have shown that sulforaphane stimulates, or "induces," "Phase two enzymes." These enzymes are an integral part of the body's elaborate detoxification system that renders carcinogens inactive. This detoxification system turns carcinogens and other toxic substances into harmless molecules that are excreted from the body.
We need not fear carcinogens—the body is equipped to deal with them.
These findings, coupled with an appreciation of the body's ability to defend itself against carcinogens, have the potential to dramatically change the way we look at cancer and substances in the environment that "cause" cancer. We need to minimize unnecessary exposure to carcinogens, and the staggering quantity of hazardous chemicals in the environment remains an urgent health concern, for cancer and many other health problems. But, knowing the body is equipped with the means to defend itself against toxins, we do not need to fear carcinogens as perhaps we have in the past.
The natural world is full of carcinogens.
What's more, even if you eat 100 percent organic food and live in a environment free of toxic man-made chemicals, you are still being exposed to carcinogens every day of your life. Food is the primary route of this exposure. Plants, for their own defense, produce over 99% of all the pesticides in agricultural products.1 Almost all foods—in their natural state—contain tiny amounts of naturally-occurring, potentially carcinogenic chemicals.
The point is not to trivialize the concern over environmental toxins. The point is that the natural world is full of toxins that are not man-made. These substances have been around since before we appeared, which is why we have evolved with a highly efficient system for neutralizing them before they can damage our cells and initiate the complex process that produces cancer.
Broccoli sprouts are a concentrated source of cancer-fighting sulforaphane.
We cannot avoid carcinogens. What we can do is support our internal detoxification system. Sulforaphane is a powerful tool in this effort. We can start by following the often-repeated advice to eat a variety of vegetables every day, and include broccoli in our menu.
There is an even richer source of sulforaphane than broccoli itself. In September 1997, a group of scientists at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine made a breakthrough discovery— broccoli sprouts contain ten to one hundred times more sulforaphane than mature broccoli.2 Vegetable sprouts are generally regarded as exceptionally healthy foods. Broccoli sprouts now look like a shining star, especially when it comes to cancer prevention.
For those lacking the time or inclination to keep a fresh supply of broccoli sprouts on hand, broccoli spouts have been processed into an extract that is even more concentrated in sulforaphane. More on this later.
What have researchers learned about broccoli consumption and cancer rates?
More than 200 epidemiological studies—studies which track groups of people over time to uncover realtionships between variables such as diet and the incidence of disease—have invesitgated the connections between vegetable consumption and various forms of cancer.1 It should be understood that findings from epidemiological research are generally not regarded as conclusive; these studies are not controlled, and often use data gleaned from questionnaires, which are an imprecise method of gathering information. (In the case of diet questionnaires, for example, the study subjects may or may not record their food intakes with 100 percent accuracy.)
Epidemiological studies look for trends. To be credible, these trends need to show up consistently, in different population groups. Findings from the vegetable intake/cancer studies easily meet these criteria; the number of studies is large and the trend is consistent—vegetable consumption is strongly associated with a lower risk of developing cancer.
What about broccoli in particular? A paper published in the September 1996 issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention analyzes epidemiological data gathered from 94 studies concerning the cancer preventive effect of brassica vegetables.3 (The Brassica genus, part of the Cruciferae family, includes broccoli, cabbage, kale, cauliflower and brussels sprouts.) The data suggest that broccoli consumption reduces the risk of some of the most feared forms of cancer, including stomach and lung cancer.
Now, to put these data into a balanced perspective, the researchers point out that in most of the studies reviewed, brassica vegetable consumption was reported as part of the total vegetable intake. "In hardly any epidemiological studies was the effect of brassica vegetables separated from the effect of total vegetables or other vegetables by adjusting for consumption of these variables. Therefore, it is difficult to sort out whether the observed observation was attributable to brassica vegetables, to vegetables as a whole, or to other vegetables," they noted.
This uncertainty is a good example of why epidemiological studies alone do not give us open and shut conclusions. But the paper also adds that the apparent anti-cancer effect of brassica vegetables agrees with "the results of experimental studies in which brassica vegetables reduced mammary tumor incidence, hepatic tumor size, numbers of tumors per liver, tumor frequency, and the number of pulmonary metastases when given to rodents before or after a carcinogen insult."3
When you put together a plausible trend from epidemiological research with results of experimental studies that agree with the trend, and then add additional research that reveals the underlying mechanism for these observations, a clear picture begins to take shape. And, indeed, we now have a fairly good idea as to just how brassica vegetables, especially broccoli, help prevent cancer.
How sulforaphane helps prevent cancer from developing.
To see how sulforaphane works, let's look at a brief overview of the body's detoxification system.
The detoxification of carcinogens and other toxic substances takes place in the liver, and involves two distinct enzyme-driven processes or "phases". Phase one enzymes neutralize toxins by various routes. Some of these convert toxins into substances that are immediately eliminated. However, other Phase one steps convert toxins into intermediate products which are carcinogenic themselves, and require further treatment before they can be excreted. Phase two enzymes do this vital job. Phase two enzymes deactivate these carcinogenic metabolites of Phase one, and the final breakdown product is then eliminated once and for all. (For an excellent review of this subject, see Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, by Drs. Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno.4)
Phase two is critical. If Phase one is in good working order, but Phase two is not, the potential threat from carcinogens increases. It is vitally important to keep Phase two operating well. This is where sulforaphane plays its cancer preventive role. Sulforaphane is a powerful inducer of Phase two enzymes.5,6
Broccoli sprouts-the ideal source of sulforaphane
Sulforaphane is one among a group of phytochemicals called "isothiocyanates." (These occur in brassica vegetables largely as "glucosinolates," which are precursors for isothiocyanates2,12 When the plant is crushed, glucosinolates are converted to isothiocyanates.) Sulforaphane induces Phase two enzymes exclusively, leaving Phase one enzymes alone. This means it helps reduce the load of carcinogenic Phase one intermediates without adding to the load by stimulating Phase one.8,9
As reported by the Johns Hopkins University research group, broccoli sprouts are an "exceptionally" rich source of sulforaphane (in the form of "glucoraphanin, sulforaphane's glucosinolate precursor). And broccoli sprouts have another advantage over mature broccoli. They contain almost no indole glucosinolates, phytochemicals present in mature broccoli that "can enhance tumorogenesis."2
Broccoli sprouts as an extract, now available as a dietary supplement, takes the concentration of sulforaphane to the next level. This recently developed nutraceutical product contains a potent 20 to 1 extract of three-day old fresh broccoli sprouts.
One 125 mg capsule supplies the same amount of sulforaphane as 125 grams, or about 5 ounces, of mature broccoli. Taking just one capsule a day is like eating two pounds of broccoli per week, which equals the intake of cruciferous vegetables believed necessary to obtain their health benefits.
1. Steinmetz, K.A. Potter, J.D. Vegetables, fruit, and cancer prevention: A review. J Am Diet Assoc. 1996;96:1027-1039.
2. Fahey, J.W., Zhang, Y., Talalay, P. Broccoli sprouts: An exceptionally rich source of inducers of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogens. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 1997; 94:10367-10372.
3. Verhoeven, D.T.H., et. al. Epidemiological studies on brassica vegetables and cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention 1996;5:733-48.
4. Murray, M. Pizzorno, J. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing;1998:110-120.
5. Zhang, Y. Talalay, P, Cho, C., Posner, G.H. A major inducer of anticarcinogenic protective enzymes from broccoli: Isolation and elucidation of structure. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 1992;89:2399-2403.
6. Gerhäuser, C. et. al. Cancer chemopreventive potential of sulforamate, a novel analogue of sulforaphane that induces phase 2 drug-metabolizing enzymes. Cancer Research 1997;57:272-78.
7. McDanell, R., McLean, A.E.M., Hanley, A.B., Heaney, R.K., Fenwick, G.R. Chemical and biological properties of indole glucosinolates (glucobrassicins): A review. Fd. Chem. Toxic. 1988;26(1):59-70.
8. Talalay, P. Mechanisms of induction of enzymes that protect against chemical carcinogenesis. in Advances in Enzyme Regulation, Vol. 28, Weber, G., Ed., 1989: Pergamon Press.
9. Prochaska, H.J. Santamaria, A.B., Talalay, P. Rapid detection of enzymes that protect against carcinogens. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 1992;89:2394-98.
VitaNet ® Staff
May 09, 2005 06:10 PM
It's in the BloodNatural alternatives abound for managing cholesterol levels, backed by a growing body of research ©VR By Paul Bubny
The National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) last July lowered the threshold for considering the use of statin drugs—a move which some say was motivated more by profits than scientific evidence. For example, the Center for Science in the Public Interest pointed out that eight of the nine authors behind the new recommendations had financial ties to statin manufacturers, which stand to reap billions of dollars more from a category that grossed $14 billion in the U.S. last year. And though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in January decided against authorizing over-the-counter (OTC) sales of statin drugs, drug companies would still like to see this happen.
“The medical establishment’s pushing of these drugs to becoming the number one category of prescribed drugs in the world has led them to keep lowering the total cholesterol number that triggers the drug recommendation,” said Neil E. Levin, C.C.N., D.A.N.L.A., nutrition educator, product formulator, and “Truth Advocate” for NOW Foods (Bloomingdale, IL), which produces a number of supplements for addressing cholesterol. “This is despite the lack of evidence that total cholesterol means much as regards cardiovascular risks.
“Other tests are much more important in terms of predicting risks, including CRP (C-reactive protein), the balance of different cholesterol fractions, and homocysteine,” he continued. “Add adult-onset diabetes to the risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD).”
At the same time, the allegation that enormous sales potential lay behind the lower threshold for prescribing statin drugs illustrates how widespread the problem of hypercholesterolemia (elevated total cholesterol) is. More than 100 million Americans have elevated cholesterol (total cholesterol values of 200 mg/dl and higher), and of these, more than a third have high cholesterol (levels of 240 mg/dl and higher), according to the American Heart Association. Those numbers have unfavorable implications for the incidence of CVD, as high cholesterol is considered a risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke.
While statin drugs haven’t garnered the same degree of negative publicity that COX-2 inhibitors have suffered lately, safety concerns have arisen nonetheless. For one thing, these drugs lower the liver’s production of coenzyme Q10 (coQ10) along with its production of cholesterol. “CoQ10 is related to energy production and immune functions, is an antioxidant, and [is] an important cardiovascular nutrient,” Levin said. “It is not good to lower one’s coQ10 levels by half!”
Moreover, said Levin, statins increase the tendency of muscle tissues to break down. “Combined with inactivity or certain drugs, this can stimulate muscle wasting,” he said. “Muscle is where a good deal of calories are burned, so a loss of muscle could affect mobility and energy production, potentially adding to obesity problems. These muscle changes occurred in patients and persisted for years after treatment was discontinued, as shown by muscle biopsies, even if no obvious muscle problems were observed by the patients.”
And the last word on the subject may not have been spoken. Predicted Dr. Frank King, Jr. president of King Bio Natural Medicine (Asheville, NC), “Once the appropriate studies are finished, these drugs, along with hypertensives, will hit the fan bigger than the COX-2 inhibitors.”
Also looking toward the future, Levin said that of the 20 million Americans who will be “targeted” for statin drug prescriptions under the new NCEP guidelines, “Some of these will want to try natural methods first. Others will rebel at the side effects of the drugs and experiment with alternative products.”
King and Levin both saw opportunity for natural products in the fallout from drug safety concerns, with King projecting that sales of his company’s cholesterol-related homeopathic remedies will double in 2005. “The reports of deaths from drugs will always overshadow the trumped-up studies and news reports blasting dietary supplements,” said Levin. “Vioxx knocked vitamin E off the media’s radar screens pretty rapidly, though we still see ignorant reporters citing that [Johns Hopkins] vitamin E analysis as if it were true. But the comparable safety of supplements means that open-minded people will want to at least try natural therapies before signing in to a lifetime of drug therapies. Meanwhile, the studies on natural products will continue to build our credibility.”
Those studies keep coming in, with at least four major findings published in the past few months, plus a heart-health claim on walnuts authorized by FDA. They join a raft of earlier findings that link natural products—branded and otherwise—to healthy cholesterol levels.
"Blur of Products"
With so many natural alternatives to cholesterol drugs available, it can be hard to keep track. “As with any other category, the blur of products as they cascade over several shelves means that the retailer needs to have a good sense of what works and what they want to recommend to their customers,” Levin said. “Really, each person needs a protocol that would include antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, herbs, and oils. The pre-mixed cholesterol support formulas are a good starting place.”
To help retailers get a sense of “what works,” here is an alphabetical discussion of several nutrients that have demonstrated benefits in serum cholesterol levels. They include the following:
Barley may help lower cholesterol, according to a report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2004, vol.80, no.5: 1185-1193). Twenty-five adults with mild hypercholesterolemia consumed a controlled diet low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol for 19 weeks. They then added whole-grain products containing barley to their diets that contained low (0 g), medium (3 g), or high (6 g) amount of beta-glucan per day for five weeks. Total cholesterol was reduced by 4 percent 9 percent, and 10 percent, respectively. The diet with the highest amount of beta-glucan led to a decrease in LDL cholesterol of 17 percent.
Chromium. There’s evidence, Levin said, that chromium in doses of 500 mg a day may decrease levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL, the so-called “bad” cholesterol) and total cholesterol while raising levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL, or “good” cholesterol). At the annual meeting of the American College of Nutrition last October, a poster presentation on the safety of Benicia, CA-based InterHealth Nutraceuticals’ ChromeMate niacin-bound chromium won first prize; among other things, the presentation cited chromium’s role in maintaining healthy blood lipid levels.
Fatty Acids. The latest in a long line of studies demonstrating the benefits of fatty acids in heart health is a study published in The International Journal of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics in December 2004. It showed that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), an omega-3 fatty acid, can restore normal blood vessel function in children with inherited high cholesterol. The study, which used Martek DHA produced from microalgae, concluded that restoration of normal blood vessel function has the “potential for preventing the progression of early coronary heart disease in high-risk children.”
“The evidence continues to accumulate on the cardiovascular benefits of DHA for people of all ages,” said Henry “Pete” Linsert, Jr., chairman and CEO of Martek Biosciences, an ingredient supplier based in Columbia, MD. “This study clearly indicates that DHA played an important role in healthy blood vessel function in the children in this study.”
On the Omega-Research.com Website maintained by fish oil manufacturer Nordic Naturals (Watsonville, CA) can be found summaries of several earlier studies linking omega-3 fatty acids to maintaining healthy blood lipid levels, as well as related benefits such as elasticity of the arteries. In a 2003 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was found that women receiving a mixture of 4 g eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA along with 2 g of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) had lower levels of LDL cholesterol after 28 days compared to those who received either the EPA/DHA supplements without DHA, EPA/DHA with a smaller dose of GLA, or GLA alone.
Flax is another source of omega-3s, and Arkopharma/Health From The Sun (Bedford, MA) offers FiProFLAX in a variety of forms. Marketing director Hugues P. Mas said the flax is “QAI [Quality Assurance International] certified organic and guaranteed GMO [genetically modified organism]-free.” On its Website, the company offers a cholesterol quiz geared to consumers, discussing the importance of omega-3s as well as other nutrients.
Garlic. Adding to an already considerable body of research demonstrating that garlic can lower total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides while increasing HDL cholesterol, researchers at UCLA in 2003 reported that Kyolic aged garlic extract reduced or inhibited plaque formation in the arteries of 19 cardiac patients taking statin drugs.
Lead researcher Matthew Budoff, Ph.D. commented at the time that the study “suggests that aged garlic extract may be a useful and beneficial dietary addition for the people who have high cardiovascular risk or who have undergone heart surgery.” Budoff has since presented several trade show seminars sponsored by Los Angeles-based Wakunaga of America, the makers of Kyolic.
Guggul. In use for centuries as a component of Ayurvedic medicine, guggul—a gummy resin tapped from the Commiphora mukul tree, which is native to India—has been studied since the early 1960s for its hypolidemic (blood-lipid lowering) properties. Sabinsa Corp. (Piscataway, NJ), an ingredient supplier which produces a standardized extract under the brand name Gugulipid, says the studies on guggul indicate that its hypolipidemic activity can be attributed to more than one mechanism of action.
Among the possible mechanisms are: inhibition of cholesterol biosynthesis, enhancing the rate of excretion of cholesterol, promoting rapid degradation of cholesterol, thyroid stimulation, alteration of biogenic amines, and “high affinity binding and anion exchange.”
Homeopathy. “Homeopathy activates the body’s own control system to work properly,” said King. “This is the safest and most curative approach to take.
“Forcing the body into biochemical change even naturally doesn’t actually have the curative action of homeopathy,” King continued. “Homeopathy can even correct the genetic predispositions to disease we may have inherited from as deep as a thousand years into our family chain.” King Bio makes Artery/Cholesterol/BP, a homeopathic formula intended to help tone heart muscles and blood vessels.
Low glycemic index foods. In a study published in the February issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers found that high glycemic load is negatively correlated to serum levels of HDL cholesterol. Assessing the relationship between blood levels of lipids and diet in a test population of 32 healthy males and females ages 11 to 25, the researchers found that glycemic load accounted for 21.1 percent of the variation in HDL cholesterol. They concluded that glycemic load appears to be an important independent predictor of HDL cholesterol in youth and noted that dietary restrictions without attention to glycemic load could unfavorably influence blood lipids.
Medicinal Mushrooms. Although its product SX-Fraction is intended primarily to address high blood sugar, Maitake Products, Inc. (MPI, Ridgefield Park, NJ) found in a clinical study that LDL cholesterol in diabetic patients declined modestly (from 142 mg/dl to 133 mg/dl) over a two-month period. Those taking SX-Fraction also lost about 7 lbs. in the same time period.
“The more impressive lowering of cholesterol, however, comes from the dietary fiber that is found in all medicinal mushrooms,” said Ellen Shnidman, manager of scientific affairs at MPI. She cited animal studies which documented the cholesterol-lowering properties of four different mushrooms: maitake, shiitake, agaricus, and enokitake.
For example, a study reported in the September 1996 issue of Alternative Therapies showed “a 44 percent reduction in total cholesterol in rats consuming maitake mushroom in their diet,” said Shnidman. “This cholesterol reduction is accompanied by weight loss, relative to rats eating a similar high-choelsterol diet without mushrooms. Apparently, cholesterol is excreted by the rats in sufficient quantity to aid in weight loss.”
Oat bran. A 2004 consumer study conducted by the Natural Marketing Institute (NMI, Harleysville, PA) for Nurture, Inc. (Devon, PA), which produces the ingredient OatVantage, found that 63 percent of consumers managing their cholesterol levels prefer oat-based ingredients.
Oat bran is the subject of a health claim authorized by FDA in 1999, and NMI research found that 69 percent of respondents preferred the FDA-permitted health claim, “Helps Lower Cholesterol,” over the model structure-function claim, “Helps Maintain Healthy Cholesterol Levels.” “This is significant for food, beverage, and dietary supplement manufacturers who want to increase sales by using a more consumer-desired claim on the product label,” said Griff Parker, Nurture CEO.
Plant sterols. Also the subject of an FDA-approved claim for heart health, plant sterols (structurally similar to cholesterol in humans) can block the absorption of cholesterol, according to a number of studies. In an “Ask the Doctor” publication (available online at www.atdonline.org), Decker Weiss, N.M.D. noted that sterols enter the same receptor sites that cholesterol enters on its way to the bloodstream. “The cholesterol, being blocked from absorption, remains in our intestines where it is eventually excreted,” Weiss wrote. General Mills has just introduced Yoplait Healthy Heart, a yogurt high in plant sterols.
Policosanol. A mixture of fatty alcohols derived from sugar cane or beeswax, policosanol has been favorably compared in clinical studies to several types of prescription drugs for managing cholesterol. On its own, policosanol was found in a 1999 study to reduce LDL cholesterol while raising levels of HDL cholesterol.
Probiotics. “Several studies have indicated that consumption of certain cultured dairy products resulted in reduction of serum cholesterol, as well as triglycerides,” wrote Dr. S.K. Dash, president of probiotic manufacturer UAS Laboratories (Eden Prairie, MN), in his Consumer Guide to Probiotics. Among other studies, Dash cited two controlled clinical studies from the VA Medical Center at the University of Kentucky.
“In the first study, fermented milk containing [Lactobacillus] acidophilus was accompanied by a 2.4 percent reduction of serum cholesterol concentration,” he wrote. “In the second study, a different L. acidophilus strain reduced serum cholesterol concentration by 3.2 percent. Since every 1 percent reduction in serum cholesterol concentration is associated with an estimated 2 to 3 percent reduction in risk for coronary heart disease [CHD], regular intake of fermented milk containing an appropriate strain of L. acidophilus has the potential of reducing risk for [CHD] by 6 to 10 percent.”
Dash said his company’s DDS Probiotics contain DDS-1 L. acidophilus, “which has been researched and demonstrated to show cholesterol-lowering effect.”
Psyllium. “Internal cleansing is very important” in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, “especially if you do it with a lot of fiber,” said Sunil Kohli, vice president of Chino, CA-based Health Plus, Inc. The cholesterol-managing ability of fiber in general and psyllium in particular is “very well-established,” he said.
However, Kohli said, “It will probably do you no good if it’s random. It should be done on a regular basis, and it should be supervised. Consulting the doctor or pharmacist is important.”
Soy. The protein in soy “has evidence of lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, based on reviews of studies using over 20 g of soy protein per day,” said Levin. “Soy isoflavones are considered only partly responsible for this effect.”
Sytrinol. A patented proprietary formula derived from natural citrus and palm fruit extracts and containing citrus polymethoxylated flavones and palm tocotrienols, Sytrinol has been shown in clinical trials to improve total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides by up to 30 percent, 27 percent, and 33 percent, respectively. Having just wrapped up Phase III of a long-term trial of Sytrinol, Chicago-based SourceOne Global Partners, which owns the exclusive worldwide license for intellectual property associated with the ingredient, is commencing a study that combines Sytrinol with plant sterols.
Tocotrienols. On its Website discussing the science and benefits of tocotrienols (www.tocotrienol.org), ingredient supplier Carotech Inc. (Edison, NJ) identifies several benefits for blood lipid levels. Tocotrienols, according to the Website, have been shown to “inhibit cholesterol production in the liver, thereby lowering total blood cholesterol;” “[suppress] hepatic HMG-CoA reductase activity [and result in] the lowering of LDL cholesterol levels;” and “inhibit cholesterogenesis by suppressing HMG-CoA reductase.”
With all of this, Levin said, it’s important for retailers to remember that “they are not allowed to discuss diseases and remedies unless there is an approved FDA health claim allowed on the label, as with soy protein and plant sterols. What is allowed are structure-function claims such as ‘cholesterol support,’ ‘promoting normal, healthy circulation,’ ‘homocysteine regulators,’ etc.”
Supplementation is only one tool for managing cholesterol levels, manufacturers pointed out. “Besides nutrition, lifestyle is a key to controlling cholesterol,” Levin said. “Eating a variety of antioxidant-rich foods will prevent the liver from churning out cholesterol as a ‘cheap’ antioxidant. The body uses oxidized cholesterol to patch leaky and damaged blood vessels, so the ability to build healthy collagen is a must, using nutrients like vitamin C, Pycnogenol, rutin, hyaluronic acid, and MSM.
“Don’t forget exercise and stress reduction,” he added. “Stress results in high cortisol levels—usually accompanied by poor blood lipid levels—and a lack of good sleep to produce unhealthy people.” VR
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